July 21, 2008

Lockout Ended, Intensive Contract Campaign By Steelworkers at Latrobe Specialty Steel Shows Workers Fighting Back to Defend Family Standards of Living


Contact: Kevin Caruso of USW LU 1537, +1-724-539-8546; or Howard Scott of USW, +1-412-580-6980

LATROBE, Pa., July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) said today that the successful conclusion of the labor dispute at Latrobe Specialty Steel (LSS) marks a new burst of energy, creativity and willingness to fight back against the tide of corporate giveback demands on the part of rank-and-file workers.

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Employers everywhere should take note that the United Steelworkers are in no mood to be pushed around at the bargaining table, said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who leads the union steel sector. The Latrobe Steel dispute shows that working people have had enough of employers demanding more and more. Working people are ready and willing to fight back.

The Latrobe Specialty Steel dispute, which began May 1 as a strike but was converted to a lockout May 9 when workers made an offer to return to work that was rejected by the company, showed how union workers are successfully adapting their tactics to maximize pressure on management.

The unions campaign at Latrobe Specialty Steel included a broad range of innovative support activities, including: building a strong network of community supporters and activists, including people from the religious community; mobilizing family members for pro-union actions; raising the visibility of the dispute through pro-union billboards and thousands of yard signs; aggressively advancing the campaign by communicating the unions message to political leaders, company customers and suppliers and the public in general, and; maintained a vigilant, yet peaceful 24-hour presence on the picket line.

In June while the lockout was underway, members of the USW met for their International Convention, the unions top governing body, and voted to increase the level of support workers such as those at Latrobe receive when involved in a labor dispute, further strengthening the unions hand.

LSS management had said they were pleased with the work of replacement employees brought in during this dispute, but their happiness at getting back Local 1537 members shows that there is no substitute for an experienced, professional union work force, Conway said.

The new five-year union contract at Latrobe Specialty Steel provides bonuses amounting to $11,000, a $.50 an hour wage increases in the first three years, family health insurance, defined benefit pensions for retirees, the ability to renegotiate higher wages after three years and maintains the earning power of new hires.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

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