ALCOA Workers Strike 15 Plants Nationwide
ATLANTA (AP) _ A strike against the Aluminum Company of America that has idled 15,000 workers at 15 plants continued today as management personnel ran operations at some facilities.
No new talks were scheduled.
The strike was called late Saturday night by the United Steelworkers of America and the Aluminum, Brick and Glass Workers International after the unions rejected what they termed unreasonable concessions demanded by ALCOA and another major aluminum producer, Reynolds Metals Co.
Reynolds employees will continue to work without a contract.
ALCOA was targeted for the strike because of its ″belligerent attitude during negotiations, and the fact that they are the major company in the industry,″ Steelworkers spokesman Bob Moffett said Sunday.
The talks failed, Moffett said, because of ″the insistence of ALCOA to extract concessions from these people at the same time they were making a profit.″
Nevertheless, he said union representatives are ″willing to go back in (for more talks) immediately. We’re hoping to work out some sort of honorable settlement.″
ALCOA officials said Sunday they had no plans to reopen negotiations. A Reynolds spokesman also has declined comment.
Picket lines were up Sunday morning at ALCOA’s three plants in Alcoa, Tenn. Some 300 management personnel are operating the smelter there ″in an effort to preserve jobs for when this strike is over,″ said Elton Jones, public relations manager for ALCOA’s Tennessee operations. To restart the smelter after a shutdown would take about a month, he said.
Management employees also were at work Sunday at ALCOA’s plant near Newburgh, Ind., said plant spokesman Mark Schaefer. Some 900 salaried employees would be used to keep that facility operating, Schaefer said.
At ALCOA’s Benton, Ark., plant, about 200 salaried workers were split into two crews to handle 12-hour production shifts, said Ron Kuerner, manager of the company’s Arkansas operations.
Pickets went up outside main entrance of an ALCOA smelter at Vancouver, Wash., early Sunday. Union spokesman Roger Waite said picketing would continue 24 hours a day until the dispute is settled.
The two unions, negotiating simultaneously with ALCOA and Reynolds in Atlanta, rejected an offer from the companies Saturday and the companies refused to make another offer, said Ernie La Baff, president of the Aluminum, Brick and Glass Workers.
Moffett said the three-year package offered by the companies represented a $1.19-per-hour reduction in benefits.
C. Fred Fetterolf, ALCOA president and chief operating officer, said in a statement: ″ALCOA made a very fair offer to the unions. It was intended to protect the income and jobs of our employees, yet be effective in reducing the company’s compensation costs.″
The unions’ decision to strike ALCOA and not Reynolds ″unfairly places economic hardships on ALCOA employees and their families,″ he said.