MONTREAL — Some 280 members of United Steelworkers Local 7085, locked out since April 24 by Glencore at its smelter in Belledune, New Brunswick, are determined to continue their fight. Workers had voted by 96% to strike. Hours before this was to take effect, the company locked them out.
Under threat of plant closure, union members had given up millions of dollars in pay and pension money over the last few years, which the union members are now fighting to get back. “We’re drawing the line,” Local President Bart Dempsey told the Militant Oct. 10. “It’s our turn now, no concessions.
“We work with a hundred toxins — cadmium, mercury, etc., holding tanks at 500 to 800 degrees, and a multitude of heavy equipment traffic,” said Dempsey. “The company tries to spin that it’s an everyday place to work. No. We need a union safety rep on full time.” The company wants to eliminate this position.
The fight is getting wider support and giving a boost to others. The 180 sawmill workers at the Chaleur mill in Belledune won union representation this September.
Send solidarity messages and financial contributions to USW Local 7085, PO 1003, Belledune, NB E8G 2X9.