CAW President Sends Solidarity Message to Locked-out Rio Tinto Workers
January 31, 2012, 10:15 AM EST
CAW President Ken Lewenza has sent a message of solidarity and support to the nearly 800 locked out United Steelworker union members at Rio Tinto in Alma, Quebec. The company locked out the workers within the first few moments of the New Year.
"I was shocked and angered to see the arrogance of Rio-Tinto, who not so long ago, merged with Alcan, lock out nearly 800 of its workers on New Year's Day," writes Lewenza.
Our nearly 200,000 members of the CAW share in your frustration and anger at your employer attempting to turn good job into precarious, temporary contract jobs.
The Quebec government has even been complicit in allowing Rio Tinto to try to railroad Quebec workers. That the Quebec Superior Court would rule USW members must limit their picket line numbers is outrageous - worse still that the Quebec government, led by Premier Jean Charest, has not intervened in this injustice."
Lewenza likened the fight at Rio Tinto to the one at Electro-Motive in London, Ontario - both essentially caused by government inaction and corporate greed.
Workers at the aluminum smelter rejected the company's final offer, which included contracting out new jobs as existing staff retires.
Rio Tinto merged with Quebec-based Alcan in 2007. The CAW represents Rio Tinto workers in Kitimat, B.C. and Saguenay, QC.
Read the full letter here.