The United Steelworkers Union (USW) plans to go on strike early morning on Mar 30 at Allegheny Technologies (ATI) citing unfair labor practices after both parties were unable to reach a consensus on a collective bargaining agreement.
Negotiations are anticipated to continue and according to the USW/ATI bargaining bulletin, notice has been provided to ATI to ensure an orderly and safe shutdown of equipment and nine facilities.
ATI plans to continue meeting demand by restarting critical operations using salaried and temporary replacement employees. The company may be able to continue operations of its hot rolling and processing facility by utilizing its salaried workers.
The steelmaker is pursuing an agreement that would allow its specialty rolled products business to thrive in the long term so it may expand despite business conditions, according to media reports.
In Dec 2020, ATI announced its intent to streamline the business segments including the cessation of its $400-500mn stainless sheet products group by the end of 2021. This move could bring $50mn in yearly savings and expand margins in the company’s Advanced Alloys and solutions segment as the focus could feasibly shift to higher-margin products.
The extent of impact or timeframe of any impending disruption to operations has not been projected.
Per media reports, a strike may benefit ATI’s stainless competitors such as Spain’s Acerinox and its Kentucky site, along with UK-headquartered Outokumpu that operates in Alabama as both companies are not unionized.
The USW noted the collective bargaining agreement involves around 1,300 employees. ATI’s records show its collective bargaining agreement with the USW entails about 1,100 employees and expired in February 2020 prior to an extension through February 2021. The disparity may entail about 200 employees that have been laid off. The number of employees affected cover 15-20pc of ATI’s workforce.