Last week, Century Aluminum locked out 560 employees represented by the United Steelworkers.
Earlier this week, company officials sent a letter to the union stating that picketers have “made violent anonymous threats against the spouses and children of salaried employees. They say rocks have been thrown at vehicles, and there are reports of gunfire.”
In response, the United Steelworkers issued a press release disputing the company’s claims.
The United Steelworkers (USW) today disputed allegations of picket line misconduct made by Century Aluminum (NASDAQ:CENQ), which locked out the 565 members of Local 9423 from their jobs at the company’s Hawesville, Ky. smelter on May 12, 2015. The union further repeated its call for Century to end the lockout and reinstate the USW workforce to their rightful jobs while negotiations for a new labor agreement proceed.
The USW first learned of the company’s purported problems with picketers at the same time Century notified news outlets via an email, which also included the completely false claim that union workers threatened to strike prior to the company carrying out its plan to enforce a lockout.
The union will work with law enforcement and the community to maintain orderly and lawful pickets with foremost attention to the safety of locked out workers and the public. Local 9423 is conducting regularly scheduled monthly meetings throughout the day on Thursday, where the union will review the its picket line code of conduct with members, in addition to other items on the agenda, including the availability of “catastrophic” medical insurance coverage available to locked-out workers.