Union rallies planned in 6 communities over Allegheny Technologies contract dispute lockout

The United Steelworkers union planned six rallies for workers locked out of Allegheny Technologies Inc. plants in Pennsylvania and five other states.

The lockout affecting roughly 2,200 workers began Aug. 15. The workers' last contract expired June 30.

A key issue is the company's demand that workers begin paying some of their health insurance premiums. Industry analysts say that's a precursor to a tax on employee health plans that's set to take effect in 2018 under the federal health care overhaul.

The rallies are scheduled in Pennsylvania for Bagdad, Brackenridge, Latrobe, Midland, Vandergrift and Washington.