PITTSBURGH, Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement from USW International Vice President Tom Conway in response to the Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) fourth-quarter and year-end earnings report released this morning. The specialty steelmaker reported a larger than expected fourth-quarter loss of $227 million, as well as a 29 percent drop in fourth-quarter sales. Today's earnings report also was greeted with a series of solidarity actions on USW picket lines at a dozen ATI facilities in six states where workers are locked out.
"It's immoral and a disgrace that ATI continues to keep 2,200 workers illegally locked out of their jobs while behaving as if this is business as usual. As today's earnings report made very clear, this type of reckless and irresponsible management has had a devastating effect on the company's bottom line and on its standing in the community.
"ATI's weak fourth quarter follows an equally bleak third-quarter report. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. The key to any company's success is a skilled, experienced work force. For the past six months, ATI has turned its back on these dedicated employees and their families. Sadly, the company seems intent on doubling down on its failed strategy of intimidation and manipulation.
"Of course, the USW understands the situation facing our industry. Steelmakers around the country are under attack from illegal and unfairly traded imports from China and elsewhere. Global overcapacity has sent prices spiraling downward. These trends call for immediate and long term direct action from Washington to save jobs and preserve a vital industry.
"However, locking out workers and forcing them to accept deep, permanent and unnecessary cuts in wages and benefits will do absolutely nothing to solve this crisis. As we saw today, this approach only makes a bad situation worse.
"Throughout our bargaining with ATI beginning last spring, the USW has put forth proposals that would save the company millions of dollars over the term of the contract. We repeatedly offered to stay on the job while negotiations continued, but ATI management insisted on implementing a failed, unnecessary and illegal lockout. The company is throwing money away on inexperienced replacement workers rather than relying on its own experienced and dedicated employees who have proven track records of efficiently running these plants. That approach, as well as potential liabilities for this illegal lockout, could end up costing ATI and its shareholders millions of dollars.
"It's long past time for ATI management to let go of this foolhardy and irresponsible approach. The USW is committed to continuing to bargain in good faith on a fair contract, and we hope that ATI is interested in doing the same."
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors, including 2,200 members at 12 ATI locations. For more information: www.usw.org and www.usw.org/act/campaigns/ati-bargaining.
CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)