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PITTSBURGH (February 22) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union’s bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement today on a new four-year contract with specialty steelmaker Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) that also would bring an end to the company’s illegal six-month lockout of 2,200 workers at 12 facilities in six states.
The contract and back-to-work agreements are subject to ratification by the members of the local unions at those facilities, as well as approval from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). That process is likely to take several weeks. Details of the agreements will be announced following their ratification.
Last spring, ATI presented the USW bargaining committee with a list of 145 contractual demands that would have cost workers thousands of dollars per year and eroded decades of collective bargaining gains. The two sides continued to exchange proposals for weeks past the previous contract’s June 30 expiration.
In August, ATI presented the union with a last, best and final offer that contained many of those same drastic cuts, and demanded that the union hold a vote on the concessionary agreement. Only days later, on Aug. 15, before the union could vote on that proposal, ATI locked the workers out of their jobs.
“This is a tremendous victory for a very brave group of workers. They should be proud of this agreement, and of the resolve they demonstrated throughout this six-month ordeal,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “They showed us all the strength that we can have when we stand together in unflinching solidarity.”
On Dec. 19, 2015, the NLRB announced that it would issue a complaint against ATI for unfair labor practices in connection with the lockout. That 31-page complaint, alleging that the lockout was illegal and that ATI bargained in bad faith, came on Feb. 12, as the two sides continued to bargain.
“This company was, from day one, determined to intimidate, rather than negotiate, its way to an agreement, and they failed. These workers stood up and said very clearly that ATI’s behavior was unacceptable,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, the chairman of the USW’s bargaining committee. “Now it is time to heal and move on from the damage this company has inflicted in the past six months. We look forward to ratifying this agreement, returning to work, and getting back to doing what we do best – making the best steel in the world.”
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors, including 2,200 members at 12 ATI locations. For more information: http://www.usw.org/ and http://www.usw.org/act/campaigns/ati-bargaining
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