The National Labor Relations Board has sided with workers from Allegheny Technologies that have accused the company of illegal labor practices after a lockout was initiated on August 15.
The NLRB on Friday said it would file a complaint against ATI that will be heard before an administrative law judge in Pittsburgh.
“The determination was reached on merit and that, according to the (NLRB Pittsburgh) regional director, the lockout was unlawful,” said Jessica Kahanek, a spokeswoman for the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.
ATI locked out employees in August after presenting a “last, best and final contract” that was rejected by the USW. The 2,200 employees were working under terms of the expired June 30 contract until the lockout began.
In a statement to the membership, the USW explained the NLRM complaint:
“The NLRB complaint will allege, in part, that ATI bargained in bad faith, both before and during the lockout. The complaint will also allege that ATI unlawfully locked out workers to support the company’s bad faith bargaining positions and permissive demands at its plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon. Under the NLRA, a company is prohibited from locking out workers over permissive demands, which are bargaining demands that do not relate to terms and conditions of employment.”
“In all my years as a negotiator, I have never seen a company engage in such obvious bad-faith bargaining,” USW International vice president Tom Conway said. “We are delighted that the regional director agreed with us on every major point that we made.”
The NLRB will seek a ruling that requires ATI to pay lost wages and benefits to workers that were locked out during the dispute and require ATI to bargain a new contract in good faith.
In response to the NLRB decision ATI spokesman Dan Greenfield said, “”The decision by the NLRB to issue a complaint is not a final decision that any of the union’s allegations have legal or factual merit. Rather, it is a procedural step in the legal process. The company will now present its position to an administrative law judge. We have acted properly throughout these negotiations. We look forward to presenting our evidence in the proper venues.”
“For many years, we had a very good working relationship with ATI, among the best we have had with any employer,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “It’s long past time for this company to get back to that spirit of cooperation, to return to the bargaining table and settle a fair contract.”
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