Steel Mills

ATI, USW Reach Tentative Four-Year Labor Deal

Written by Michael Cowden

Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) and United Steelworkers (USW) union negotiators have reached a tentative four-year labor agreement, according to both the union and the company.

The deal, if ratified by rank-and-file union members, would end a strike that began on March 30 – more than three months ago.

USWThe new contract – backdated to March 1, 2021 – is slated to run through Feb. 28, 2025, an ATI spokeswoman said.

“In the upcoming days, the USW will focus on ratifying the agreement with their members. Once ratified, we will begin an orderly return to work process,” she said.

Both ATI and the USW said that the primary sticking point had been healthcare.

“Our focus has been on reaching an agreement with a cost structure that enables long-term stability for our employees, our customers and our business,” the ATI spokeswoman said.

More details will be provided as the return-to-work and ratification processes progress, she said.

The USW in an update to union members said that the tentative contract featured premium-free health insurance and higher wages.

“We have fought for fairness and struggled for justice together on ATI picket lines for more than three months, and we have achieved our goals,” the union said.

ATI’s primary business focus is specialty metals and components for high-end applications such as aerospace, defense and medical devices. In other words, think titanium, stainless and specialty steel, and forgings and castings. The strike was of interest to the carbon flat-rolled steel community because ATI’s Hot Rolling and Processing Facility (HRPF) in Brackenridge, Pa., has been toll rolling slabs for third parties – such as JSW Steel USA.

ATI had been operating its facilities, including Brackenridge, with replacement workers, the spokeswoman noted.

The USW strike at ATI was the second longest one at a steel-related company in the last 12 months. The union also went on strike for nearly six months at NLMK USA’s operations in western Pennsylvania.

The flat-rolled steel market has seen an unprecedented runup in prices over that period.

Hot-rolled coil prices were at $1,770 per ton ($88.50 per cwt) when this article was filed, up 33% from $1,330 per ton from March 30 and more than triple $480 per ton a year ago. HRC lead times, meanwhile, average 10.5 weeks, up 22% from 8.59 weeks on March 30 and nearly triple 3.59 weeks a year ago, according to SMU’s interactive pricing tool.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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