Steelworkers Express Confidence That BPA Will AdoptPRNewswire - September 10, 1999
PORTLAND, -- USWA District #11 Director David Foster expressed confidence today that the Bonneville Power Administration would adopt a Corporate Good Citizenship Clause in its future allocation of low-cost power to industrial consumers. Foster spoke following public statements by U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson at a meeting at BPA's Portland, OR headquarters. A Corporate Good Citizenship Clause would require BPA's industrial customers to demonstrate an acceptable record in the areas of environmental, labor, and safety standards in order to qualify for continued access to low-cost power.
Foster stated, "We applaud the Secretary of Energy for his ongoing commitment to insure the economic viability of the aluminum industry and its workers in the Pacific Northwest. We were especially pleased by the warm reception that he showed our members at yesterday's meeting and his clear openness to holding BPA's corporate customers accountable for their conduct as it affects their workers, their communities, and the environment. We are confident that this will mean that the upcoming rate-setting process will mean the denial of any consideration to Kaiser Aluminum. It is tragic that Kaiser's outrageous conduct has now put the viability of the Company at risk."
Over 100 steelworkers from aluminum plants in Washington and Oregon attended yesterday's briefing session for Bonneville stakeholders. Among them were two busloads of USWA members from Kaiser Aluminum's plants in Tacoma and Spokane. Kaiser steelworkers have been locked out since January 14, 1999 in a labor dispute that is focused on the company's unfair labor practices, proposals to cut future retirees' health insurance, and its demands to eliminate over 700 jobs through contracting out and job combinations.
Foster added, "Most of the aluminum companies served by the BPA have labor agreements negotiated with the USWA. They operate their facilities with clear regard for the communities and the surrounding environment and have worked diligently to build cooperative labor relations. Only Kaiser Aluminum has chosen to wage a war with its workers, locking them out from their jobs while running with a temporary workforce.
"In the last nine months Kaiser's labor contractor, Labor Ready, has been indicted by the Washington Attorney-General; over $200,000 of fines have been levied against Kaiser by the Washington Department of Ecology; and their workplace accidents have increased by 86%. We are confident that Kaiser Aluminum's conduct will disqualify them from receiving the preferred power rates that Bonneville has proposed offering to the rest of the aluminum industry."
Kaiser Aluminum locked out 2,900 Steelworkers, including 2,300 from three plants in Washington State, on January 14, 1999 after the Steelworkers offered to return to work. The labor dispute began on September 30, 1998 as a strike following record performances at all 5 plants (located in Washington, Louisiana and Ohio) in 1997 and record company profits in the years preceding the strike.
The Good Corporate Citizenship Clause
A fair requirement for preferential rates
Direct Service Industries, (DSIs) are vital to the economy of the Northwest. That's why they long have been favored with below-market power rates from the Bonneville Power Administration.
But the public deserves more than the hope that low rates will equal jobs. They deserve a strategy that will hold DSIs accountable for the lower electrical rates they receive at the expense of citizens, smaller manufacturers and businesses.
That's why the United Steelworkers of America is proposing a Good Corporate Citizenship Clause (GCCC) to be part of Bonneville's contracts with DSIs.
The GCCC is based on the principle that lower rates are a privilege granted by citizens to DSIs. As such, reduced rates entitle the public to expect a higher standard in the following areas:
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs