NEW YORK United
Steel Workers union Local 1005 intends to reject Max
Aicher North Americas (MANA) final contract offer early
Saturday morning, a union official said, preventing the mill
from possibly restarting in the next few months.
The union voted down
the same offer on June 6 with a 73-percent majority (
amm.com, June 7), and later presented a
counteroffer to the company, which MANA rejected, USW Local
1005 president Rolf Gerstenberger told AMM. MANA then
sent back its same final offer with the condition that the
workers will be locked out starting June 29 if it is rejected,
Gerstenberger said, noting that the union does not intend to
accept the offer.
"Were not doing
that. None of our members have even told us, Lets
vote again," said Gerstenberger. "We didnt even
want to vote" the first time, he said.
The contract would
reduce wages by $8 to $10 an hour and eliminate the pension
plan and a cost-of-living plan, according to
Gerstenbergercuts he said the union workers are unwilling
But the company
maintains such a contract is key if the mill is going to ever
"This new agreement is
pivotal to our ability to develop a world-class bar mill here
in Hamilton," MANA chief financial officer David Cameron said
in a statement. "Currently we have no collective agreement and
the bar mill is not operating."
Ontario, facility is a 300,000-ton-per-year threaded bar mill
that has faced a number of supply and labor issues since it was
bought from U.S. Steel in 2010. The mill hasnt rolled
steel since September 2011, and it laid off the last of its
unionized workers in December. Management and Local 1005 have
been negotiating MANAs latest collective agreement offer
since late May.
Cameron said the cuts
are necessary for the company to be economically viable.
"I believe weve
explained to them through empirical data that the offer that we
gave to them is a fair offer," said Cameron. "Weve (made)
a very fair and very competitive offer. Im shocked and
surprised that theyre willing to do this."
Cameron said MANA
needs a labor contract in order to resume production and ensure
investors and potential customers it can produce threaded rod
at consistent level. If the union were to accept the offer, the
company would begin maintenance work to restart the mill, which
would begin production within the next three to four months,
Cameron said (
amm.com, May 29).
Gerstenberger said MANA is waiting for the former
workers unemployment benefits to run out next month
before making another offer, but Cameron said the next move has
to be the unions.