The National Labor Relations Board is taking Allegheny Technologies Inc. to task for alleged unfair labor practices. The NLRB filed a formal complaint on February 11 accusing ATI of bargaining in bad faith on a new labor agreement with the USW and unlawfully locking out workers on August 15.
The 31-page document accuses the company of committing more than 20 different bargaining violations along with threatening employees with reprisals, including discharge, if they went on strike.
“We are pleased to see that this complaint validates every significant charge the USW has made against ATI from the beginning,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “The company has, since day one, engaged in a pattern of intimidation, manipulation and bad-faith bargaining in a blatant attempt to force hard-working people into accepting deep cuts in pay and benefits.”
The previous labor contract expired on June 30 and the USW agreed to work under an extended contract while negotiations continued. In August, ATI locked out 2,200 workers after the USW rejected the company’s final offer which proposed pay cuts and reduced benefits. ATI has maintained operations using salaried employees and temporary replacement workers.
ATI argues the cuts are necessary to stay globally competitive. The company posted a net loss of $227 million in fourth quarter 2015 and a loss of $387 million for the full year 2015.
Allegheny Technologies issue a statement refuting the Board’s allegations:
“ATI believes this is a legal work stoppage that resulted after a lack of progress in contract negotiations. We further believe that the allegations of the complaint are not supported by the facts or the law, and ATI will vigorously challenge the complaint through the appropriate legal process.
“The NLRB’s complaint is not a finding of fact. Rather, it marks the start of a process in which ATI will present evidence that the Company, faced with increasingly non-competitive labor costs, bargained in good faith with the USW to reach agreements that would protect great jobs. This is the beginning of a potentially lengthy legal process that, including appeals, could take years to resolve. “
Both the USW and ATI say they remain committed to negotiating a fair agreement. In a Feb. 8 update to the membership, the USW bargaining committee said it is “seeing some progress.” Face to face negotiations resumed again last Wednesday.
A hearing on the complaint before an NLRB administrative law judge is scheduled to begin on May 23 at the Region 6 Office in Pittsburgh.
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