PITTSBURGH, Aug. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- About 700 United Steelworkers (USW) union members who began a strike Sunday morning at Constellium Rolled Products in Ravenswood, W.Va., remain committed to continuing negotiations toward a new contract.
"We are confident that we can still work together and reach a new agreement that is fair to both sides," said USW negotiator Randy Moore. "We are willing to compromise, but that must not mean that the workers are the only ones who give, and that is what would happen under the company's plan. We are not asking for anything new – all we are asking for is to hold on to what we have."
The USW has been negotiating with Constellium since late May. A federal mediator brought the two sides back to the bargaining table Saturday, but the company rejected the union's most recent settlement offer. The strike began as of 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
"A decision like this is always a last resort, but sometimes it is the only way to show the company that we demand to be treated fairly," said USW District 8 Director Billy Thompson. "We hope that the company will sit down with us and work out a fair deal for everyone involved - one that helps them stay competitive without pushing more hard-working people into a race to the bottom."
Among other issues, the union is objecting to changes the company wants to make to health care coverage that will significantly increase costs to employees and their families. The changes could more than wipe out any wage increases the company has proposed. Currently, workers at Constellium make an average of about $19 per hour.
"All we ask for is the ability to take care of our families," USW Local 5668 President Jason Miller said. "This community needs good jobs with decent benefits, and that's what we're fighting for."
The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.
Randy Moore: 304-489-3961, [email protected]
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)