One last acid test for AK Steel's Jim Wainscott and the AEIF

Dec 09, 2005 | 03:03 PM | Scott Robertson

James Wainscott, chairman, president and chief executive officer of AK Steel Corp., Middletown, Ohio, has worked hard to smooth ruffled feathers among the company's various constituents in his year-plus on the job, pushing to improve communications with unions, governments and environmental and community groups, among others.

Wainscott, who took the reins following a management shakeup at AK Steel in September 2004, faces perhaps the sternest test of his communications skills as the company kicks off contract talks with the Armco Employees Independent Federation (AEIF).

The talks now under way target the achievement of a new deal before the current labor agreement expires Feb. 28. Brian Daley, the AEIF's new president, said that relations between the company and the union have improved since Wainscott took over, but stopped short of saying he was optimistic that a new deal could be reached without a work stoppage.

"I do believe that the relationship has improved," Daley said, who defeated incumbent Ed Shelley to become AEIF president in an October election. "It's a wait-and-see thing. We have had some meetings and both sides have submitted proposals. I can't get into any details yet."....

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