> For immediate release
> Steelworkers Charge that Kaiser Aluminum's Decision to Reduce Can Body
> Stock Business Demonstrates Company's Need To End Lockout
> MINNEAPOLIS, MN, December 15, 1999 -
> Reacting to Kaiser Aluminum Corporation's announcement today to reduce its
> can body stock business, United Steelworkers of America (USWA) District
> #11 Director David Foster said, "Our boycott is obviously having an effect
> on Kaiser. This announcement is one more illustration of Kaiser's
> inability to successfully compete in the aluminum business while waging a
> war against its unionized work force."
> Foster went on to say, "The aluminum industry is in the midst of a global
> reorganization. To compete, Kaiser should immediately end its lockout of
> 2900 Steelworkers and return their desperately needed skills to the work
> place. Instead, Kaiser continues to impair its ability to sell to the
> consuming public as a result of its callous treatment of its workers.
> It's time Kaiser gets about the task of rebuilding consumer trust in its
> organization from top to bottom. That can only happen by immediately
> ending the lockout."
> The USWA has conducted an aggressive customer awareness campaign, asking
> consumers of Kaiser product to boycott the company until the lockout is
> ended. On October 1, 1999, the Pepsi Bottling Group announced it would
> stop using Kaiser metal in its beverage cans at the end of the year.
> Anheuser-Busch, which has a purchasing alliance with PBG for aluminum can
> stock, made public today that its use of Kaiser metal would discontinue as
> well. (See attached letter from Anheuser-Busch.)
> "Once Kaiser has returned its skilled, experienced work force to their
> jobs and agreed to a fair contract, we are committed to helping the
> Company recover the business that it has lost by its short-sighted
> actions," stated David Foster.
> Since the start of the labor dispute, Kaiser Aluminum Corporation has
> reported total losses of $132 million in four quarters. The company has
> been fined in excess of $250,000 by the Washington State Department of
> Ecology for air quality violations during the last year, has experienced a
> 65% increase in accidents as reported to the Occupational Safety and
> Health Administration, and incurred a devastating explosion at their
> Gramercy, LA alumina refinery that injured 24 workers and shutdown
> production at the operation.
> Kaiser Aluminum Corporation is 63%-owned by Maxxam, Inc. whose
> controversial CEO, Charles Hurwitz, has been the target of continued
> environmental protests over the clearcutting forest practices of the
> company's Pacific Lumber subsidiary. Hurwitz is also the target of
> several lawsuits filed by the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal
> Deposit Insurance Corporation seeking to recover in excess of $1 billion
> in losses from a Hurwitz-owned Savings and Loan.
> USWA members struck Kaiser Aluminum in response to the company's unfair
> labor practices and substandard contract offer on September 30, 1998, and
> offered to return to work on January 13, 1999. On January 14, 1999, the
> company locked out over 2,900 USWA members at its plants in Gramercy,
> Louisiana, Newark, Ohio, and Tacoma and Spokane, Washington.
> # # #
> For more information, contact David Foster at 612-623-8045 or Jon
> Youngdahl at 253-351-0511.
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