NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Congressman Tim Ryan responded to Howmet and the United Steelworkers’ agreement to maintain melt operations at Howmet’s plant in Niles, as well as extend their collective bargaining agreement.
Ryan said he has been in contact with the union and Howmet during talks to downsize plant operations because of lagging business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A company official told WKBN on Thursday that although business had been slow, no decision had been made yet to downsize and the company was continuing its operations as it negotiated with the union.
Ryan said he pledged to help identify resources and incentives to keep the factory open and steelworkers employed.
He released the following statement Friday:
COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of our lives and our economy, and the aerospace and defense industry has not been immune. The negotiations to downsize the Niles plant were especially concerning given the local workforce that resides in Niles and the surrounding communities. These conversations are never easy, but several tough decisions had to be made. The reduction in workforce is painful, especially to the families who will lose a working paycheck – my heart goes out to them. However, the agreement to extend the contract through April of 2024 and keep the melt furnace operating is a huge win for the viability of the plant. I made clear in my conversations with Howmet leadership that keeping the furnace operating was paramount. I want to acknowledge and thank the hard work of Jose Arroyo, Terry Thirion, Mike Mignogna, and many others of the USW team that negotiated this agreement under tremendously difficult circumstances. As Vice Chair of the Defense Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for Howmet and the United Steelworkers on a variety of federal matters impacting their business and livelihoods.”
“These were challenging negotiations and while we did not win everything we wanted, the final outcome means Howmet’s Niles plant will continue to employ our members for the foreseeable future and be the beneficiary of millions in new investments that will make our facility more competitive,” said Terry Thirion, Local 2155 president. “We are grateful to the negotiators, all our members and all those in the community who supported us, including Congressman Tim Ryan, whose assistance and support was highly valuable to achieving this outcome.”
Howmet, a Pittsburgh-based company that spun off from Arconic in April 2020, is a lightweight metals engineering and manufacturing leader specializing in jet engine components, aerospace fasteners, aerostructures and forged aluminum wheels.