FARRELL, Pa. (WKBN) – Over 400 Union Steelworkers let their voices be known outside of the Farrell Plant.
On Saturday, steelworkers stood outside of the plant to show management that they aren’t happy with the new high deductible health insurance plan.
“I ain’t happy. The same as none of the members are happy. We didn’t want to be out here on strike, but they gave us no choice,” said Jim Wells, Union President Local 1016-03.
The union and NLMK have been negotiating for months over a labor agreement that will cover more than 400 union members at the Farrell Plant.
According to the union, the sticking point during negotiations has been the proposed health care place, which the union rejected.
“When we ask them why they need it, we need information. What’s this going to cost? Is this going to save you money or not? They won’t answer any of our information requests whatsoever,” Wells said.
Standing in solidarity, Wells says that everyone in attendance believes the same thing.
What the company is offering is unfair to them and their families.
“We’re hoping they see how united and strong we are and maybe understand that we don’t want that,” Wells said.
Shane Carlin, of the International Headquarters of the United Steelworkers, was upset as he explains how this was an inconsiderate act by the company to initiate this during a pandemic.
“We questioned the company repeatedly about this, and they aren’t saying they need this proposal to ensure competitiveness or viability of the plant for cost effective reasons. They just want it because they want it,” Carlin said.
Both Wells and Carlin expressed that after Saturday’s strike, changes will be enforced.
“We want a fair contract that supports all the members and their families around here. Right now, that’s not what they’re offering,” Wells said.
“We’re hopeful that the pressure here and throughout the country will cause the company to back off of its unreasonable proposal, to abide by federal law and to bargain reasonably and to reach a successful conclusion to this bargaining,” said Carlin.
If a conclusion isn’t reached, workers say they will continue their push until they see a change.