Manufacturing

Steelworkers at Arconic Reject Contract Proposal

WEATHERSFIELD, Ohio — Members of United Steelworkers Local 2155 yesterday overwhelmingly rejected a proposed agreement with Arconic Inc., formerly RMI Titanium, after working for nearly a year without a new contract.

“Right now, we don’t know the reason why it failed,” said Jose Arroyo, staff representative for Steelworkers District 1 Sub District 1.  “Now, we’ll step back, let everybody cool down, hold some membership meetings and find out why people voted against the agreement.”

Arroyo said the vote count was 311-145 against the proposed contract.

Union members have staged two informational pickets this year outside of the Warren Avenue plant, one on April 29 and the other on June 12. Members said they were concerned about working without a new collective bargaining agreement. 

Once the union is able to determine the reasons why the vote failed, meetings will be held with the company to address these issues and hopefully reach a new agreement, Arroyo said.  

“Our goal is to get an agreement ratified by the membership,” he said. “It’s just a long process.”

Arroyo said that Arconic employs a mix of both older and younger members, so the proposed contract could have affected these demographics differently.  

“You have to see how it affects these groups,” he noted. “Emotions are high, people are campaigning every way. … You need to calm down and do your due diligence.” 

The last agreement expired June 30, 2018, and union employees have been working under a two-week rolling extension, Arroyo said. Under these terms, either party could break the contract – whether the company calls a lock out or the union a strike – with two weeks notice to the other party,

“Neither party has chosen to break the extension,” Arroyo said.  “We contacted Arconic last night and we said we’d compile information and schedule a date to work it out.”

Arroyo said that most likely, those meetings won’t occur until after the Fourth of July holiday. 

A statement from the company issued Tuesday said that the company would continue negotiating until an agreement is reached.

“Arconic Niles Operations is committed to working with union representatives to secure a labor agreement that helps make our business more efficient, flexible and cost competitive in our global aerospace markets,” the company said in an email.  

“Arconic and the USW bargaining committee worked diligently in the best interests of our business and our workforce to present a tentative agreement that both sides believed was a fair contract that provides for our employees’ economic security, strong job opportunities and career growth, and our long-term business success,” the company continued. “We will continue our commitment to negotiating in good faith with the union until an agreement is reached.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.