Welcome To the Story of
Century Retirees Standing Together
* * * IMPORTANT * * *The Century Retiree Committee will be at Local Union #5668 Hall on Tuesday, October 31st from 10:00 a.m. for a few hours to assist those needing help on filling out the forms to claim a portion of past medical expenses.
* * * IMPORTANT * * *If any retiree or their spouse has had an address change since the employees retirement, it is very important that you provide this infomation to either Karen Gorrell or Les Shockey. Also if you have an email address where you can receive updates quickly, this information is needed also.
Karen Gorrell email is: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone # (304) 483-2873
Les Shockey email is LesShockey@frontier.com Phone # (304) 532-0276
The USW released their statement, Century released theirs....and I waited. There was no way for me to make a statement without my amazing retiree army and some incredible folks that helped us along the way. I had refused to comment until I could share the moment with some of those that were such an essential part of the journey! It is important to understand that Karen could not do this by herself....and I didn't! I had the most courageous, incredible, determined and beautiful retiree army that a lady could ever hope for that stood shoulder to shoulder with me every step of the way. No matter what I asked of them....they had my back! I love, honor and appreciate them more than words can say. When I walked in the union hall on December 17, 2011 and had the craziest idea in the world.....pitching tents in a busy intersection in the middle of winter...a week before Christmas no less...I figured this is where the rubber would meet the road....and they would laugh me out of the building! No way were these 70-80 year old men going to go along with that idea. Karen Gorrell had done lost her mind. I couldn't have been more wrong. Other than a request to put it off until after Christmas (which I denied....lol), they started raising their hands....one by one. I'm in! What an amazing day.....and I knew at that point...these guys are the real deal! We ARE going to do this...one way or the other....we will get justice for Bryce and Sam and the many other families that had been so devastated by Century's immoral, heartless and, in my opinion, criminal decision! Murder without a gun! There was no other way to see it!
We spent 78 days in those tents and actually had one of the most memorable Christmases ever....complete with a beautiful tree and battery operated lights, Christmas carols and surrounded by the love of family, friends and a caring community! It was so apparent that God was on our team and he was looking out for us. A complete strangers pulled up that day with an envelope full of money. He had seen us on tv. He accidentally broke a piggy bank and the coins went everywhere. He was looking at the mess wondering what he was going to do with it...and saw us on the news on WTAP. Decision made, he cashed it in and brought every cent down to our camp to help us with our fight. A total stranger, and we knew the Christmas season was alive and well in WV. What a blessing! I was the youngest person at the camp at age 62.....and we had 80 year old heroes sleeping in makeshift cots on the ground in summer tents! Even Century had concrete barriers brought in with huge fork trucks to barricade the intersection so a semi wouldn't come barreling through our campsite and mow us down. We didn't feel they truly cared....but more likely....didn't want the liability and negative press if anyone lost their life fighting for what the men paid for over decades!! That encampment caused an opening of dialogue between us and Century...they came to us..and wanted to talk! That led to the original agreement we had in 2012 that never came to pass! We were shattered.....but not deterred! We must battle on....pick ourselves up....dust ourselves off....and battle on. My little army discouraged...but not defeated!
We traveled the country from California to Washington, DC, from Chicago to South Carolina, and everywhere in between...refusing to accept defeat....waiting for God to open a new door...and show us which way to go..and he always did! What a glorious God he is. We made a promise to Bryce and Sam (may they finally rest in peace)....and we intended to keep it....no matter what! When Jodi Damron Gorrell found me sobbing on my couch after meeting Bryce Turner and hearing his tragic and heart breaking story of being diagnosed with Luekemia and getting his "Dear John" letter from Century Aluminum, she told me to stop crying and to get up off the couch and fight back! I looked at her like she was nuts and told her..."Jodi...this is corporate America...I'm just a grandma. What am I going to do?" She replied, "mom, you have more fire in your britches than anyone I've ever known. You can do this!" Little did I know what getting off that couch was going to mean and where it was going to take me....or that this battle would obsess and totally consume six plus years of my life....me and my armies life as well, once they got on board for the journey!
After our trip to California to attend the Century shareholders meeting (scariest thing I ever did in my life...not because the millionaires scared me....but because I had 500 families sitting on my shoulders! I had to get it right! In the end, I will always believe that speech that day with hands and legs trembling so bad I could hardly stand and tears streaming down my cheeks, wearing a neon yellow t-shirt with Bryce Turners photo screened boldly on the front (he had hoped to attend but relapsed and was critically I'll in Cleveland clinic), is the prime reason we are where we are today. I promised he would go to the shareholders meeting..and that was the only way I could get him there and I proudly wore his photo close to my heart....defying the concerns of the three other retirees that traveled with me! They had thought maybe I shouldn't wear it....but Bryce was going to that meeting whether Century liked it or not....and he did! Shortly thereafter...the evil CEO..Logan Kruger...was fired! Ding dong.....the wicked witch is dead!
He was replaced by Mike Bless (who was in that board room that day) and a couple years later said "I remember you. I was in the second row then, but I will never forget the passionate speech you gave that day! He is currently still the CEO today and is largely responsible for board approval of the 23 million dollar settlement filed on February 9, 2017. We were determined to force the board to see us as living, breathing human beings with beating hearts just like theirs..and not just an x in a box to be cast aside to increase profit! I believe in my heart and soul.....after 6 plus years, attending board meeting after board meeting, respectfully protesting every US facility they owned...on numerous occassions....confronting Mike every opportunity we could find...we finally, finally got our message through. At our final board meeting in Chicago, following another impassioned please, there was one board member that came to me with literal tears in his eyes! Finally, finally....the heartbeat could be heard and felt in that room! ❤ The following months were filled with dialogue, lawyers, document preparation that led to that amazing day...February 9, 2017! To God be the glory! We kept our promise. Momma K AND her silver haired army were not going to walk away empty handed after all! We did this together!
So many people helped us along the way, it would take a lifetime to thank each of them personally...but they know who they are! It takes a village....and we had an amazing one! God bless you all.
Every person needs to read the book RETIREMENT HEIST HOW COMPANIES PLUNDER AND PROFIT FROM THE NEST EGGS OF AMERICAN WORKERS by: Ellen E. Schultz. It is very informative.
Century Aluminum robbing Healthcare from Dedicated RetireesOn November 1st, 1990, Ravenswood Aluminum (currently Century Aluminum) made the decision to LOCK OUT 1700 steelworkers in a blatant attempt to bust the union. The lockout and ramifications from it had a devastating effect on the workers, their families and the entire community of Jackson County and surrounding counties as well. He once peaceful and family oriented community found itself in the middle of a very long and ugly battle that divided families, churches and neighborhoods; and was often violent and destructive to all that were involved. This was just a signal of the ruthlessness this company would exercise in years to come. The company's only regret was that the union lasted "One Day Longer" and won the battle and the dedicated steelworkers reclaimed their jobs. Once again, Century Aluminum's corporate greed has raised its ugly head!! They have made the unilateral decision to terminate the contractually promised healthcare coverage of the retirees that have dedicated decades of service to the company, creating huge profits over the years. Now that these retirees are of no value to Century Aluminum, they have been cast aside like garbage, many of them facing their golden years with absolutely no health care in their most vulnerable years. Each and every retiree decided to take retirement largely based on Century Aluminum's agreement to provide healthcare until their death. Killing off seniors by robbing access to basic healthcare should be criminal and MUST be stopped!!
We are the approximately 500 families, who after working for many years at the Ravenswood Works under various aluminum company names, who met the contractual requirements to retire with lifetime Insurance and Prescription benefits, each based on the contract benefits that were in effect at the time of retirement. The executives at Century Aluminum Company unilaterally made the decision to modify these contractual obligation by terminating these benefits to increase their profit margins and apparently to reward themselves with larger bonuses. This resulted in not only wiping out of Insurance and Prescription benefits but also a large portion, if not all, of the retiree pensions due to having to spend their pension money on insurance or try to survive without coverage.
They should be hanging their heads in shame!
The following was sent out by Sherry Breeden at WV AFL-CIO in response to Karen's posting of the "Occupy Century" email.
"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead
Meeting Times: 10:30 am
Place: 5668 UNION HALL
If your address has changed since you retired, you need to contact Karen Gorrell at (304)489-2506 or Les Shockey at (304) 273-3525 with your new address and contact information.
Our Memorial Page Updated August 16, 2017
A listing of the 74 fellow workers who have passed away since our Insurance was stolen!!
To view the above images in normal size, double click the image. Use the browser "Back" button or the "Return to Century Aluminum Retirees homepage" to return here.
Century Aluminum Retirees in the News
News Items with Video or Audio News Items in Print
For more information regarding the Century Aluminum Retirees battle to regain the Insurance benefits that each earned by years of work in hazardous conditions with the understanding that they would retain the benefits as outlined in the contract in effect at the time they retired, or to learn how you may help in the effort to right this wrong,
contact Karen Gorrell