HAWESVILLE, Ky., June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9423 rejected a final contract offer from Century Aluminum yesterday by a secret ballot vote of 443 to 2, sending a strong message to management that terms of the offer fell short of expectations and that the union membership will not be intimidated into accepting a bad deal.
The union also protests unfair labor practices, such as the threats used by Century during contract talks. USW Local 9423 President John Beaver said, "This overwhelming vote shows that the workers will not be intimidated by management's threats, including threats of shutting down the plant.
"The membership has given the union authorization to call a strike," Beaver said. "But we are going to continue bargaining and make every effort to reach a satisfactory agreement."
The bargaining committee repeatedly told the company that their contract offer was unacceptable, but the company left it on the table anyway.
The company demanded massive changes to employees' health insurance that would have drastically increased cost to union members. The company also wanted to eliminate health insurance for many future retirees.
The company wanted changes to the management rights clause of the labor agreement that would destroy effective communications between the company and union that union leaders say enable both sides to work together, collectively solving problems.
"Our membership understands the issues," Beaver said. "We held meetings and provided a summary of the issues. They understand what is at stake. With their vote, they gave us a mandate.
"We're going back to the table," he said. "Management knows the membership is behind us all the way."
CONTACT: Bobby Pierson, 502-968-6900
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)