< HOME  Tuesday, April 11, 2006

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.


At Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog is really getting good. I first discovered it a few months ago and have been dropping by twice a month, on average. I'll up the frequency now.

Check this out: damning article on Globalization by Stephen Roach
Morgan Stanley Chief Economist (March 3 2006)
Globalization's New Underclass

At Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

silver, in theory it's a wonderful plan. Nothing hurts them more than loss of revenue. The problem is, if everyone does not hold steady, if the action isn't concerted and sustained, then those who have held out will lose out, while those who caved in are spared.

Unless people are strongly united and determined to stick together, game theory will come between them and throw the whole thing off. People must work closely with others in their communities. Once that's done we can coalesce through the internet and make things happen.

At Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

peter, that article is excellent. China is in a very precarious situation, right along with the US. I am not surprised to hear that their income disparities are even more pronounced than America's, though not by much.

Another scary fact is that 74 percent of the Chinese say they think free-enterprise and free-market system is "the best system of all, compared to only 36 percent of the French. (The Germans were not far off the French.)" They're really into this capitalisme sauvage. Maybe, even more so than Americans.

It's going to take massive civil disobedience, nothing short of revolution to change these trends around. But, as I mentioned earlier it's going to take some serious grass roots organizing. United we stand, divided we fall.

At Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Well...welcome to America. Alcoa will sooner shut down its manufacturing plant than give the union an inch.

On a company by company level, this is bad enough, but given this is happening nationwide, we are in crisis mode...

At Wednesday, April 12, 2006, Blogger Citisucks said...

Even scarier is the brainwashing that goes out to Idiot America. Repeat after me Corporate Terrorists starving your children good, Unions Bad.

I do everything that I can to spread the word that the corporate terrorists need to be stopped.


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