BRACKENRIDGE, Pa. – Allegheny Technologies Inc. plans to lock out roughly 2,200 workers at plants in Pennsylvania and five other states starting Saturday.
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The company announced the move Friday in a contract dispute that's dragged on since the last deal expired June 30.
About 1,100 United Steelworkers had continued working at plants in Harrison and Gilpin Township and Vandergrift in western Pennsylvania. The same extension also affected another 1,100 workers at plants in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon and New York.
ATI plans to continue operating the plants "with ATI salaries and non-union employees and temporary professional staffing" until a new contract can be reached, the company said in a news release.
The union fired back, saying, "The lockout is the culmination of a months-long campaign by ATI management to force workers to accept draconian and unnecessary concessions."
The union hasn't threatened to strike or held a vote to authorize one, and said contract talks were progressing while work continued under terms of the old contract.
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The company said the proposed contract concessions — some of which have been dropped — have been made necessary by falling stainless steel prices caused by Chinese mills "flooding the market with standard stainless steel." That's kept ATI from capitalizing on a new $1.2 billion rolled steel mill in Harrison Township, about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, the company said.
But the union says ATI's plans to run the plants with replacement workers are a waste of money.
"For a company so fixated on cost-savings, ATI's plan to toss more money down the drain paying replacement workers and security personnel, in addition to creating ill will with their employees and in the community, is foolish," the union said.
The company has dropped a previous effort to eliminate the 8-hour workday and 40-hour workweek and other changes to overtime rules, but the union has continued to balk at having workers pay a share of their health insurance premiums, changes to retirement benefits for new workers and other scheduling rules.
This story has been corrected to say that lockout will affect workers in Pennsylvania and five other states, not three other states.