ATI Labor Talks Heat Up Over “Final” Proposal

Written by Sandy Williams

ATI has threatened a potential lockout over contract negotiations. Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) offered the USW Bargaining Committee its “last, best and final” proposal last Friday.

According to the USW the proposal was accompanied by a request from ATI that “the Union accept this proposal and recommend it for ratification by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, August 10, 2015.” ATI added that if the USW failed to accept the proposal and recommend it for ratification, “the Company reserves its right to take lawful action, including a lockout, for the purpose of supporting” its bargaining position.

Bob Wetherbee, ATI Executive Vice President of Flat Rolled Products called the proposal “a fair and competitive solution” that addresses “serious business issues, while still providing opportunities for a secure future for our employees, their families, our communities, and our company.”

The Bargaining Committee told the membership it “cannot and will not accept the company’s recent ultimatum.” The Committee plans to meet with local unions to review the specifics of the proposal before deciding whether to bring the offer to a vote.

“This company would be better served spending more time at the bargaining table working with us on real solutions than working against us by setting false deadlines and attempting to divide our membership,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who chairs the union bargaining committee. “Our talks have been productive. Our hope is that ATI will return to the table with realistic proposals, and we can continue to move forward.”

Steel Market Update is watching the ATI labor negotiations very closely as the ArcelorMittal and US Steel contract negotiations may end up mirroring what is happening at ATI. At the moment the steel industry has been relatively complacent, feeling that there won’t be any labor stoppage at USS or AM and that, if there is, there is plenty of inventory on the floor. Whatever your position might be it bears watching these negotiations for hints as to what might be coming down the road in a few weeks.

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