Steel Mills

USW to Strike ATI Beginning on Tuesday

Written by Michael Cowden

The United Steelworkers (USW) union has informed Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) that it will go on strike beginning on Tuesday, March 30.

“We have provided the (strike) notice to ATI to ensure an orderly and safe shutdown of the equipment and facilities,” the union said in a bargaining update on Friday, March 26.

USWThe USW bargaining committee has asked members to continue work until the strike begins. But the union also instructed members to remove personal items between now and 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

“We will continue to bargain in good faith to reach a fair contract and we urge ATI to do the same,” the USW said.

An ATI spokeswoman said the company was “incredibly disappointed” that the USW had elected to strike, noting that the labor action comes “following one of the worst years in company history.”

ATI makes specialty metals and complex components and has been exposed to an aerospace sector hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It in addition toll rolls carbon slabs for third parties at its hot rolling and processing facility (HRPF) in Brackenridge, Pa.

The company will continue operations with non-union workers and staff, she spokeswoman said.

“We have a business continuity plan that involves an orderly, safe shutdown and re-start of critical operations using salaried employees and interim replacement workers. We’re committed to serving our customers with as minimal interruption as possible,” she said.

SMU has previously reported that those third parties have included NLMK USA, JSW Steel USA, and Brazilian steelmaker CSN.

NLMK USA declined to comment for this article. A JSW Steel USA spokesman referred comment to a company executive, who did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. And CSN did not reply to a request for comment.

Healthcare premiums, which ATI wants to introduce by 2024, have been among the main sticking points between the company and the union.

“We are committed to rewarding our people’s hard work. At the same time, we need to have a competitive cost structure that supports this business and our investment for the long term,” the ATI spokeswoman said.

USW members have been working without a new contract since the prior labor pact expired on Feb. 28. They have in the interim been working under an extension of those existing terms.

The ATI strike marks the second one taken by the USW against a domestic steelmaker in recent months. USW members at NLMK USA’s mill in Farrell, Pa., went on strike in August and did not return to work until earlier this month.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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