Archive

Federal complaint alleges ATI lockout of workers illegal | TribLIVE.com
Local Stories

Federal complaint alleges ATI lockout of workers illegal

Allegheny Technologies Inc. was served Thursday with a federal complaint alleging the company’s six-month-long lockout of union workers is illegal, a move that was made as the sides work to end the labor dispute.

The National Labor Relations Board, which declined to make the complaint public, said a hearing on the United Steelworkers allegations of unfair labor practices against ATI was scheduled for May 23 before an administrative law judge in Pittsburgh.

Union officials declined to comment, saying they were still reviewing the complaint.

Downtown-based ATI said the NLRB’s case was “not supported by the facts or the law,” and that the steelmaker would defend itself.

Setting a hearing date follows the December announcement by the labor board that its regional director in Pittsburgh had determined the steelmaker acted in bad faith by trying to force the union to accept contract concessions. The determination was viewed as a catalyst for the two sides returning to the bargaining table in early January.

ATI locked out about 2,200 USW members Aug. 15 after delivering a final contract offer that included cuts to union health care benefits and other concessions. After meeting briefly with a federal mediator in September, the sides didn’t talk for months.

Union and ATI negotiators met Thursday and discussed operations the company plans to idle, including its grain-oriented electrical steel plant in Gilpin where 360 USW members are locked out, the union said in a separate statement Thursday. That plant is expected to be temporarily shut down in April. About 250 union workers are locked out of ATI’s Midland plant, which was idled in January.

The sides planned to meet again Friday and discuss company proposals on contracting some work to outside companies and issues specific to local unions. ATI officials could not be reached for comment on the talks.

ATI is dealing with a severe downturn in the steel industry caused by slumping demand and high levels of cheap imports. The company has said it needs to lower costs to remain competitive. Union officials have said the company should not use a temporary downturn as an excuse to gut union benefits.

Alex Nixon is a Tribune-Review staff writer.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.