Stemming from a strike that began when workers walked off the job in the US fall of 1998, and were subsequently locked from mid January 1999 until October 2000, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that workers at Kaiser Aluminium were unlawfully locked out of work. The decision means that workers are entitled to back pay and could cost the company up to $200 million.
Although the NLRB dismissed 22 of the original 24 charges brought forward by United Steelworkers of America, the ruling is only a small victory. Kaiser is not forced to pay employees until all avenues of appeal have been exhausted. Pursuant to this the CEO of Kaiser issued a statement in which he said that they would "vigorously pursue the appeal" and they were confident of gaining a decision in their favour.
Should the union be successful after Kaiser has had its day in court, workers are still faced with the prospect of being added to the list of creditors after Kaiser filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in February of this year.
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