Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype

Owens Illinois glass workers alliance takes action

24 January, 2013The Global Glass Alliance of Unions at Owens Illinois (O-I) officially announced their coalition of workers at the company in four continents to CEO Al Strouken on 10 January 2013. The alliance will rally globally during the week of 4 February in joint protest of the company’s increasing hostility to its workers.

IndustriALL Global Union affiliates representing O-I workers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, numerous countries in Europe, Indonesia, Peru, and the US, along with the O-I European Works Council, formed the alliance as recent company policy of cutting labour costs, labour rights and jobs has hit workers everywhere.

The newly confrontational labour relations strategy is coupled with a flawed business strategy of other cuts and giving up market share. The Alliance states in its 10 January letter to the O-I CEO:

O-I’s primary strategy to cut jobs, cut production, cut research and development, cut capital investment and give up market share in response to short term market fluctuations is not a formula which will yield either current or long term success.

Another damaging recent tactic of O-I internationally has been to outsource much of its workforce, with contract workers often earning significantly less and with less benefits than the permanent workers they replace.

During the week of 4 February the alliance will lead solidarity days of action calling on management to reverse these anti-worker tactics and accept trade unions’ offer to collaboratively work to accomplish the shared goal of improving the business’ efficiency and delivery. Different unions will employ different campaign activities during the week, with many holding sticker days and handing out flyers at O-I worksites, and others mobilizing members to send postcards to management.

However they do it, the thousands of O-I workers in various countries will loudly tell O-I management that they expect the company to bargain in good faith and work cooperatively with their employees everywhere. If the glass multinational is not willing to treat its workers with this necessary request, the alliance will move to a further stage of campaigning,

…the Alliance will not hesitate to reach out directly to other O-I stakeholders, including, without limitation, O-I customers and the financial markets…

As unions at O-I heads into collective bargaining in 2013 the Global Glass Alliance will move its focus to exert international pressure on the company to bargain in good faith.