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Locked-out United Steelworkers rally at Neville Chemical

12 December, 2013USW Local 5032 rallied with their families and community supporters yesterday 11 December, denouncing the belligerence of employer Neville Chemical in locking out 105 workers and freezing their pensions.

The USW members have been locked-out by the company since 12 August 2013. The Neville Chemical Plant is on Neville Island, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

On 11 December around 250 people from all over the local region noisily assembled at the plant gate, together with USW president Leo Gerard. The message of the plant gate rally was to tell Neville Chemical to end the lockout and bargain fairly with its workers.

In an effort to reach a fair settlement, members of USW Local 5032 worked for more than eight months under the terms of their expired contract but in August, the company initiated a lockout by unilaterally freezing the workers’ pensions and imposing other cuts.

In recent rounds of contract negotiations, members of USW Local 5032 have agreed to significant concessions in order to keep the company profitable. Now the company is turning a profit and managers are still demanding that workers submit to further cuts.

Workers are standing up for their right to retire with dignity as the company demands a freeze to their pensions.

IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina’s solidarity message to the 11 December mobilization read:

We fully support the rally, which will bring together members of USW Local 5032, their families and the community of Pittsburgh at the gates of the Neville Chemical plant later today, to end the lockout and send a clear message to the company to bargain fairly with the workers.

The members of USW Local 5032 have an average of 30 years of service at the facility. They see the lockout as a betrayal because, for years, they have sacrificed to make the company profitable, most recently agreeing to steep concessions in 2006 and 2008 to help the company survive.

See more information on the website of Fight Back Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the USW Associate Member Programme. Fight Back Pittsburgh has supported the struggle of Local 5032 and ensured sustained support from the local community.