The members of IAM Local 54 in Kingston, Ontario walked off the job at midnight Sunday and set up picket lines outside the Novelis plant. We rejected a tentative agreement presented June 16, 2012. The 47 members consist of provincially certified millwrights and electricians.
In 2008 the membership settled for a three-year agreement with no wage increase as a sign of good faith and a sincere attempt to strengthen our footprint in the Kingston community. The economy and the metal industry were doing poorly and we were dedicated to keeping this plant open. So we took the hit.
But while we accepted a zero percent agreement, the employer spent $250 million building a fully integrated mill in nearby Oswego New York. Now other millwrights employed in Kingston are making more money than Novelis workers and there’s concern the Oswego plant will take away work from us.
The employer hasn’t made a multi-million dollar investment or ANY assurance that this plant will stay open in the near future.
The Novelis plant, formerly owned by ALCAN, has been part of the Kingston community for more than 70 years. The facility produces specialty and industrial products for marine, transportation and other industrial applications.