(03/28/2006)
A lawsuit against Jackson County's largest industry goes to court today.

The suit involves 17 current and former employees of what is now Alcan Rolled Products.

The 2003 suit was filed about the time Alcan announced plans to buy the rolled products plant from Pechiney.

Each plaintiff sought at least $100 in damages for every day their conversations allegedly were monitored, and five million dollars in punitive damages.

The suit claims that in 2000, Pechiney began intercepting and monitoring conversations the employees believed were private.

The plaintiffs contend the activity was in violation of West Virginia's Wiretapping and Surveillance Act.

The plant has a history of labor disputes during the past two decades, including a 19-month work stoppage against the former Ravenswood Aluminum company in the early 1990s.

However, at the time the lawsuit was being filed, the United Steelworkers Union was not a party to the case.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs could not be reached for comment Monday.

Pechiney said the accusations had no merit.

Jury selection for the trial begins today at the Jackson County Courthouse.


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