Handbills posted on website not optimistic about ATI talks
While union officials could not be reached for comment, the United Steelworkers Union website has posted handbills about the ATI Flat-Rolled Products negotiations that do not appear optimistic.
According to one posted a few days ago, the USW claims ATI has taken “an aggressive position at the bargaining table and on the shop floor.”
It also states ATI has two consulting firms, Strom Engineering and the Phillips Group, to assist them with their “customer protection plan” in the event of a work stoppage.
The website for the Phillips Group could not be accessed, but the USW claims it provides security personnel.
Strom Engineering's website was clear in the services it provides: “Strom Engineering is the nation's most established industrial strike staffing company. As a provider of strategic labor guidance, we approach every situation as a trusted partner to companies facing potential and actual labor disruptions.”
Strom promises it has or will find skilled workers to continue operations of companies that are experiencing labor strife.
In another handbill issued Thursday or Friday, the USW stated: “These are classic strike-breaking companies.”
That handbill also stated the union is aware of the company's plan to use replacement workers and additional security.
In regard to ATI's plan, the USW told its members: “We should not kid ourselves, their planned attack is real. They have proposed sweeping and draconian changes to the fundamental provisions to the labor agreement.
“Nearly every significant provision in the agreements that have worked for both parties for years, are targeted.”
Greenfield would not acknowledge that ATI has hired Strom Engineering and the Phillips Group.
“We're not going to comment on any part of the negotiations or what is being distributed,” Greenfield said.
Stock analyst weighs in
Stock analyst John Tumazos of Tumazos Very Independent Research in New Jersey follows ATI. He downplayed any negative effect a work stoppage might have on ATI.
“I think the company is strong enough to survive a strike, but they want to make steel and not have a strike,” he said.
Tumazos said over the past few years ATI has made “peanuts.” The money it did make was due to its high-end specialty alloys, which use metals such as titanium and zirconium, while the flat-rolled products made little or lost money.
He said if there is a prolonged strike, it could lead to “activist shareholders” buying up controlling interests in the company and then breaking it apart.
“The flat-rolled division might be worth more ‘cold,' idled — without the workers,” Tumazos said. “I think the workers should write a ‘thank-you' every day to the company.”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.