Alcoa to Workers: 'Take This Contract or Shove It'
The days when workers could storm off a job and tell the boss to shove it are long gone.
Alcoa, the world's biggest aluminum producer, reported first-quarter net income that blew past Wall Street expectations on high metal prices and strong demand for products such as auto and aerospace components.But, that didn't stop Alcoa from sending a warning to metal workers at its U.S. plants.
[The company is] ready for a strike if new labor contract talks break down. It said it has built strategic inventories and is prepared to keep operations running using management and replacement workers when the current contract expires next month. . . .'Negotiations' are focused on rising health-care costs. But, what choice do workers have?
"We are starting to train management in operations and standby people are ready to work in the plants," [the CEO] said, noting the metal workers represent only about 20 percent of Alcoa's 45,000 U.S. workers.These workers are defenseless. They have no leverage whatsoever and the NLRB offers them little to no protection.
But, Wall Street doesn't care. You need only show them the money.
"They [profits] were outstanding, very encouraging. It shows they are finally able to contain costs and benefit from higher aluminum prices," said Brian Hicks, co-manager of global resources, at U.S. Global Investors, a Texas-based fund with holdings in mining company stocks.Of course, the only costs Alcoa can contain are those associated with labor.
"Energy cost pressures will continue, but other input costs will stabilize," the CFO said.Meanwhile . . .
Net earnings were $608 million [compared with] $260 million [a year ago].Amazing. They more than doubled their profits in one year, yet they're cutting health benefits for their workers. Welcome to capitalisme sauvage.
It doesn't have to be this way.