FARRELL, Pa. (WKBN) – The United Steelworkers at the NLMK plant in Farrell have been on strike since August 22, 2020. Both sides can’t come to an agreement on several issues, including health care.
As negotiations continue, the workers have had to get creative to pay their bills at home.
Judy Johnson has been with the union for 42 years. She was looking to retire at 62, but those plans have changed.
“A lot of us have tapped into our 401k’s for help assistance. I myself don’t want to lose what I’ve worked for all my life and there’s a lot of union brothers and sisters in the same position I’m in,” she said.
Steelworkers have also made ends meet through other avenues like the Strike and Defense Fund, which is money granted by the union weekly based on the number of union members.
“We schedule people to come down here three different times a week and submit their bills and we try to help them as much as we can. The one thing it’s for is so no one loses a house, a car or anything like that major,” said union president Jim Wells.
Also, with the help of the state of Pennsylvania ruling in their favor by labeling their strike as a lockout, they say they’ve been able to receive unemployment.
The community and churches have also pitched in, donating over 60 bags of food weekly for each union member.
“We got another 60 boxes of food coming down today that was donated. So we’re trying to help out the members the best we can,” Wells said.
“I was really shocked with the community support. Usually, it would be us helping out but it’s a wonderful thing to see. I love this community,” Johnson said.