The four year contract between USW local 1196 and Allegheny Technologies expired at 11:59 on June 30, 2015 but an agreement has been reached, for now, to keep the plant operational under terms of the previous contract. ATI and USW officials say there are still a number of significant issues to be resolved before a new contract can be agreed upon.
USW officials have indicated that ATI has been hiring security firms and staffing to replace workers should negotiations break down.
“The union is sensitive to the current market conditions, the equipment conditions within certain plants and the uncertainty this creates for the customers who rely on the quality steels we produce,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway who heads the union’s bargaining committee at ATI.
“We urge the company’s leadership to adopt a similar approach as its current “scorched earth” approach is neither productive nor effective. The USW looks forward to further discussions that are fruitful as we are committed to both our solidarity and a fair settlement.”
USW president Leo Gerard said, “We stand prepared to continue to negotiate and to search for an agreement that works for both parties, but we will not be bullied or intimated by tactics or threats.”
At issue is a proposal by ATI that includes eliminating two holidays and personal breaks and defining a normal workday as 12 hours.
ATI said in a July 1 statement that it “remains hopeful that progress can be made” and that “it continues to work in good faith with the USW toward new and fair agreements.
A precedent was set in 2011, when a contract extension allowed negotiations to proceed on the four-year agreement that just expired. The new contract will cover approximately 2,460 ATI employees.
SMU Note: The USW contract with ArcelorMittal and US Steel expires on September 1st of this year and the ATI model of continuing to work even if a contract has not been reached may be something we might anticipate in those negotiations. SMU is hearing that there has been some positioning or building of inventory for automotive or other large customers but there does not seem to be any panic or concern that there will be any form of strike or lockout.
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