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Owens Illinois glass workers rally across continents

14 February, 2013Rallying against management cuts, the global glass workers alliance of employees at the US-based multinational glass packaging manufacturer Owens Illinois (O-I) conducted simultaneous workplace actions during the week of 4 February.

Unions representing O-I workers in four continents formed the global alliance and conducted this first coordinated international week of action in response to, and rejection of, new company policy of cutbacks that are hitting workers hardest and causing concern for the future. See more background here.

The United Steelworkers sent a strong message of unity from plants across the US and Canada. See photos attached.

Australian affiliate AWU mobilized O-I workers, together with the AMWU, across Australia. See photos attached.

IndustriALL’s Colombian glassworker affiliate Sintravidricol averted a strike in January through a new collective agreement at O-I, reached with the support of the international union alliance. The union mobilized all of its sections to mark the days of action, including those representing workers at other companies than O-I. The union also wrote to CEO Al Stroucken. See photos attached to this article.

Spanish O-I workers from CC.OO. held actions at worksites in Seville and Barcelona. See photos attached.

Other actions at O-I workplaces were also conducted in the UK, Germany, France and other countries in Europe.

Brazilian colleagues at CNQ-CUT are using the international alliance to strengthen the national unity of O-I workers, represented by a number of unions within the confederation. Colleagues in Peru are currently fighting increased outsourcing in bargaining with O-I and are strengthened by the international coordination.

Indonesian affiliate FSP KEP joined the global action and wrote to O-I CEO Al Stroucken.

A Solidarity Flyer will be developed to be distributed to all trade unions in the global glass alliance around the world during the week of March 4, 2013 highlighting and sharing members’ solidarity. The Flyer will be translated into a number of languages recognizing the diversity of the Alliance.

The global alliance received a written response from Senior Vice President Paul Jarrell on 30 January. In a respectful tone, Jarrell acknowledged the formation of the global alliance and commits to good faith industrial relations throughout the company’s operations. The on-going coordination and solidarity of the global alliance will put these promises to the test.