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Steelworkers Reach Agreement to End Three Month Strike

USW and ATI reached a deal to prevent the company from pushing healthcare costs onto workers

Brian Young's picture
Jul 06, 2021

On March 30th, 1,300 workers at Allegheny Technologies Inc (ATI) went on strike. They were largely protesting the company wanting to move healthcare costs onto the workers.

Now, over three months later, a deal has been reached to end the strike. According to the union, the tentative agreement “preserves our premium-free health insurance and includes meaningful wage improvements.” The new agreement will run through 2025.

“Broadly, the proposed agreement provides lump sum payments, meaningful wage increases and maintains a premium-free health insurance plan for union members without establishing a permanent lower tier of benefits for new hires. If the proposed agreement is ratified, the recall process would begin immediately, and USW members are expected to return to work shortly after the ratification process is complete,” the Steelworkers said in a statement.

Although a tentative agreement is in place, the union said that workers will continue to picket until a new contract is ratified and a return to work agreement is agreed to. “A fair return-to-work agreement ensures an orderly recall of all eligible bargaining unit members, prevents USW members from working with temporary replacement workers who took our jobs, bridges our seniority for the duration of the labor dispute and protects returning strikers from unfair discipline,” a statement from the United Steelworkers reads.

Workers told the Observer-Reporter that the company hired scabs to replace them during the strike. They said that they will not return to work until these scabs are removed from the building.

“In the coming days, USW members will review the details of the proposed new contract and return-to-work agreement with their negotiating committee before a ratification vote, which will be scheduled as soon as possible,” said the USW statement. “Broadly, the proposed agreement provides lump-sum payments, meaningful wage increases, and maintains a premium-free health insurance plan for union members without establishing a permanent lower tier of benefits for new hires. If the proposed agreement is ratified, the recall process would begin immediately, and USW members are expected to return to work shortly after the ratification process is complete.”

USW International Vice President David McCall, who chaired the negotiations with ATI, said that throughout the process, management tried to divide the workers but they stuck together, which helped lead to the new deal.

Workers will be voting on the contract in the coming days.

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