After more than nine-months of behind the scenes planning the Mobile Metal Trades Council has launched a campaign to unionize the workers at Austal USA, a Navy shipbuilding and repair facility in Mobile, Alabama.

“Stepping onto the Austal yard is like stepping into a time warp,” said Ron Ault, MTD President. “If ever there were a location that need a union it’s Austal. These employees are experiencing some of the worst favoritism, poor working conditions, and general arrogance of management I have ever seen,” continued Ault.

“Austal receives millions of dollars from the state of Alabama in economic development grants and millions more in training funds from the state’s AIDT but the company is failing to properly train new hires and provide continuing education for those already on the job,” said Keith Maddox, an AFL-CIO Strategic Campaigns Manager working with the Mobile MTC on the campaign.

“Austal has made it very clear that they do not want a unionized workforce. Since 2002 the Sheet Metal Workers had been trying to organize the yard but Austal violated labor law after labor law to ensure that the workers did not get a voice on the job. We intend to change that,” said John Barry, MTD General Representative. “We have full commitment of our affiliated unions on this campaign, this time we will prevail.”

“In the previous campaigns, SMART Local 441 was contacted by Austal workers who were concerned about fairness, safety and a lack of skills trainingâ?? in those campaigns, Austal used heavy-handed, brutal, illegal and unlawful worker intimidation tactics to discourage workers from joining together to form a union. The company fired perceived union sympathizers and threatened workers with job loss and loss of benefits if they supported the union. In those campaigns, Ausatl was forced by the National Labor Relations Board to re-run the elections due to their illegal and prohibited actions,” continued Barry.

Austal doesn’t confine its disdain for unions to the Mobile shipyard, the Australian based company has fought against unionization at its other facilities around the globe. Ault and many of the MTD affiliated union presidents have been in contact with Australian labor leaders throughout the planning stages of this campaign “we intend to make this a global effort,” said Ault.

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