By Evan Winters
21 September 2015
The lockout of 2,200 steelworkers by Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) at 12 mills in six states has entered its sixth week. ATI locked out workers on August 14 after rebuffing offers by the United Steelworkers (USW) union to hand over tens of millions of dollars in concessions, and after the USW ordered its members to continue to work past the June 30 contract deadline.
ATI spent months preparing for the lockout, using forced overtime to build a stockpile of steel. Before locking its workforce out, ATI brought in a small army of private security contractors and hired the strikebreaking firm Strom Engineering to recruit scabs. Workers report signs of limited production of unknown quality, but key signs of full operation, such as smoke from certain chimneys, are missing.
At the ATI mill in Washington, Pennsylvania, Strom Engineering scabs can be seen moving steel slabs back and forth around the facility. It is unclear whether the scab workforce has succeeded in producing new steel, or if the apparent activity within the mill is just for show. Either way, the company, which has not changed its demands since the lockout began, is clearly making preparations to fully operate its facilities with replacement labor, even if it has not yet succeeded.
Contributions can be made payable to: USW, Local 1046 Strike and Defense Fund, 7172 Saint Francis Street, Louisville, OH 44641.