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Novelis boosts worker pay at Oswego plant

Keywords: Tags  aluminum, sheet, Novelis, Inc., Oswego plant, union election, National Labor Relations Board, NLRB USW

NEW YORK — Novelis Inc. will give 3-percent annual pay raises for the next five years to nearly 600 hourly employees at its Oswego, N.Y., aluminum sheet facility and will make no changes to its pension plan for the same five-year period.

Atlanta-based Novelis will also restore overtime rates beginning in July for employees who work during unscheduled hours.

The move comes on the heels of allegations by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that officials at the plant had threatened employees with pay cuts and the possible closure of the plant if they voted to appoint the United Steelworkers union as their primary bargaining representative.

"It seems apparent on its face that Novelis is doing its best to keep the union out by attempting to match what was recently negotiated at Alcoa," John Shinn, USW’s dirctor in District 4, which includes New York, told AMM via e-mail. "But it still falls short of the security and protections of having a collective bargaining agreement. They can make all the promises they want to the workers, but there are no guarantees unless there is a collective bargaining agreement in place."

Novelis rejects any notion that the increase is tied to or in some way resulted frompossible unionization or the NLRB’s accusations. "Our efforts are focused on ensuring Novelis Oswego employees have everything they need to continue the success they have built," Chris Smith, Novelis’ plant manager in Oswego, told AMM, adding that the pay increase is becomes effective Jan. 1, 2015, and runs through the end of 2019. "Our employees have already spoken on the issue of joining a union and made their voice heard in a fair and lawful election. Our obligation is to ensure that decision is validated and respected."

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