Union Serves 72-Hour Strike Notice at Kawneer Manufacturing in Alberta
April 19, 2011

The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union has served strike notice to Kawneer Manufacturing in Lethbridge, Alberta, a division of Alcoa, and has set a strike deadline of 7 a.m. on Thursday April 21, 2011. The workers voted 84 percent in favor of strike action on March 26, 2011. CAW national representative Todd Romanow says they are bargaining today and tomorrow to hopefully reach a deal and avert a dispute.

“The membership has made the decision to strike if necessary due to a very sparse monetary final offer from the company,” says Romanow. “They have proposed a three-year deal with no increase to benefits, shift premiums or pensions. The membership accepted a two-year deal in 2009 with very small increases and the forced implementation of a continental shift schedule.”

CAW Local 99 represents a bargaining unit of 218 workers at Kawneer’s facility in Lethbridge, Alberta. Workers include production and maintenance employees at the plant, which operates a press for aluminum extrusion and the production of architectural products.

"We are seeking a new collective agreement which provides increased remuneration, including pension, wage, shift premium and benefit increases for the workers at Kawneer,” says Romanow. "The workers have done their part in the past by accepting below average increases to help Kawneer through their struggles, now the company wants to exploit that help even though times are better. Our members at Kawneer are determined to be treated fairly and equitably and will not be taken for granted.”

Mike Belwood, a spokesperson for Alcoa, says it’s important they have a fair and competitive contract for the future of the plant.

“The commercial building industry has been under stress because of the economic downturn and we are hopeful we will be able to reach an agreement,” says Belwood. “If not, we are making contingency plans which are important for the future of the business as well as meeting our customers’ needs.”

The Kawneer Lethbridge facility manufactures aluminum architectural products that include window systems, curtainwalls, stock and custom doors. Operations consist of a 2,500-ton extrusion press, anodizing, electrostatic spray painting and fabrication.

Romanow says the last strike at the facility was in 1994 and only lasted two days.


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