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USW local president ‘happy’ with AK Steel labor accord

Feb 26, 2014 | 06:24 PM |

Tags  Brian Speelman, AK Steel, steel production, stainless steel, labor agreement, United Steelworkers, union, Mansfield Works Rey Mashayekhi

NEW YORK — A new three-year labor deal between the United Steelworkers union and AK Steel Corp. is "a positive move" for union members at the company’s Mansfield Works in Ohio, USW Local 169 president Brian Speelman told AMM.

Speelman said he was "very happy" with the agreement, which includes "modest wage increases" of between 2.2 and 2.5 percent over three years and "improvements" in the premiums paid into retiree health benefits.

The deal also includes language that will keep "in house" some work that is usually contracted outside the company.

"We are a very streamlined company—we’re not overmanned," Speelman said. "Because we try to limit (outages) to a two-day period, a lot of work they get outside contractors to do would normally be our bargaining unit work. ... With the language we’ve got now, we can do some of the work before the outage."

About two-thirds of the union’s members voted in favor of the deal, Speelman said, after a previous version was rejected in a close vote a week earlier.

"I actually think it was a lack of communication with the members," Speelman said of the deal that was rejected. "We went back to the company ... and asked them to change a few things that were sticking points." He said AK Steel "did change a couple items," which led to the deal’s approval (, Feb. 24).

The agreement, which takes effect March 31 and runs through 2017, covers 280 hourly production and maintenance workers at the Mansfield stainless steel operations.

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