FARRELL, Pa. (WKBN) – After a year of talks and a six-month strike, a labor dispute between NLMK Steel and its workers officially came to an end Monday evening.
Members of the steelworkers union agreed to a new contract and will be headed back to work soon.
United Steelworkers Local 1016-03 has been on strike from NLMK Steel since August. But on Monday night, by a vote of 276 to 103, the workers approved a new contract.
USW President Jim Wells said his workers were most concerned about health insurance and liked their options in the new contract, which also includes a wage increase.
“Now, to end this strike, we actually have the choice of the PPO or HMO, the high-deductible plan, at a reasonable rate,” Wells said.
Wells said no contract can please everyone and that some didn’t think the agreement went far enough.
“Maybe their raises weren’t enough for them or you got other people that maybe they’re thinking it’s still too much for their health insurance. Or you have other people that don’t like this part of the language over here, so they voted no,” Wells said.
Now that the strike is over, all members will be going back to work, but not right away.
“We need to mesh how we’re bringing people back, what machines are going to start up. With 410 union employees, you can’t just mass bring them in. So it’s going to take probably a week, maybe one to three weeks,” said Todd Clary, USW staff representative for District 10.
Wells said his workers wouldn’t have been able to make it through the long contract dispute without support from the community.
“It meant that much to us, and I want to make sure that the community understands that we won’t forget. We don’t forget how much they supported us. We will support them, too,” Wells said.