United Steelworkers at Allegheny Technologies Inc. voted overwhelmingly on Friday to authorize union officials to call a strike against the company. The strike authorization was approved by 95% of the 1,300 union members and, if carried out, will be the first strike at ATI since the mid-1990s.
In the latest bargaining bulletin, union officials urged ATI to return to negotiations. “It is clearly in the best interest of everyone to resolve the outstanding issues through collective bargaining without a work stoppage, but ATI must change its approach before we can achieve a fair contract,” said the USW bargaining committee.
“It’s time for the top executives and managers to stop worrying about the price of their stock and figure out how to invest in the company’s most valuable asset–the workers who built the company and keep it going.”
If a strike should occur, steel companies that have steel processed by ATI may be impacted. Reportedly, JSW, NLMK and CSN (Brazil) are all rolling slabs at ATI. Often during a strike, production continues by salaried staff but at reduced volumes.
Contentious negotiations are not new at Allegheny Technologies. The last contract agreement was ratified in 2016 after a six-month lockout. That agreement was extended for an additional year after 2020 negotiations were abandoned in March as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States. The contract extension expired on Feb. 28.
“While we’re disappointed our employees have authorized a strike, we continue to work hard to reach resolution,” said ATI spokeswoman Natalie Gillespie. “As we’ve stated all along, our goal is to maintain stability for our employees, our customers and our business.
“We do not want a work stoppage,” she added. “We continue operating to meet our commitments to customers and avoid disruption to our employees and their families.”
ATI said steps were being taken to ensure continuity for customers should a strike occur.
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