ShareThis Page

Ludlum steelworkers authorize strike

| Friday, July 29, 2011

Allegheny Ludlum workers don't want to strike but say they will if parent company Allegheny Technologies Inc. refuses to offer them a better contract, according to numerous laborers who attended meetings Thursday at union halls in Brackenridge and Leechburg.

"What people want is another contract extension," said Keith Hayden, who works at Ludlum's Brackenridge plant. He said the overwhelming sentiment among his co-workers is that they want to avoid a strike and hope ATI will offer another 30-day extension on the contract that expired June 30.

Ludlum employees currently are working under a contract extension that expires Monday. Earlier this week, they voted down a proposed contract. They have said they want wage increases that keep pace with inflation and don't want retirees paying more for medical benefits.

They were offered a $3,000 lump sum bonus in first year, $1,500 in the third year and 75 cents an hour pay increase in the second and fourth years.

"It's an impossibility," Hayden said of the potential for a strike, arguing there isn't enough support for one.

Other workers who declined to give their names said they weren't so sure. They said union members, in large number, agreed through "voice votes" to give their leadership permission to call a strike if it's apparent ATI won't make concessions.

Mickey Karns, president of Local 1196 in Brackenridge, and Dave Bridgen, president of Local 1138 in Leechburg, declined to comment.

Strike authorization votes are happening this week at the other Ludlum locals. Ludlum operates plants in Brackenridge, Leechburg, Vandergrift, Houston, Latrobe, Midland and Washington. Workers at a titanium operation in Oregon are included in negotiations.

Greg Fumea, who works in the melt shop at the Ludlum plant in Latrobe, said a majority of his fellow laborers feel the same as those in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

"I don't think anybody wins in a strike," Fumea said. "I don't want a strike."

He argued, much the same as workers in Brackenridge and Leechburg, that ATI is in a position to offer more. "This is a concession contract," he said of what the company offered.

ATI said Wednesday that its profit surged 76 percent to $64 million in the second quarter and sales rose compared with a year ago.

Company CEO Richard Harshman said in a Wednesday conference call with investors and analysts that ATI will continue to work with the union to reach an agreement.

Dan Greenfield, company spokesman, declined to comment yesterday.

United Steelworkers officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me