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Calgon Workers Ratify Contract, End Lockout

July 22, 2008

By Thomas Olson, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Jul. 22–About 60 workers locked out of Calgon Carbon Corp.’s Neville Island plant ratified a three-year labor agreement Monday night that will cut pension and retiree health benefits but raise wages.

The employees, members of United Steelworkers Local 5032, voted 40 to 12 to ratify the tentative agreement, which runs until July 2011, said Jerry Morton, president of the local.

Workers on June 30 rejected a similar proposal from management by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

Last night’s vote ends management’s lockout of the employees, which began Feb. 29, four weeks after their contract expired.

The labor agreement freezes the workers’ defined-benefit pension plan and converts its assets into a 401(k) retirement savings plan. It ends health benefits for workers who retire after July 2011, Morton said.

But the average pay of $18 an hour will increase to $19.30 over the next three years. The contract calls for a 50-cent-an-hour raise upon contract ratification; 40 cents on Feb. 1; and 40 cents on Feb. 1, 2010.

Headquartered in Robinson, Calgon Carbon makes products used to purify air and water worldwide.

A Calgon Carbon spokeswoman said the company has not wanted to “negotiate in the press” during the federally mediated talks this spring and summer.

Management said the company needed the concessions to combat competitors who have shed defined-benefit plans. CEO John Stanik said in May that workers at Calgon Carbon’s other plants pay more of their health premium costs than those at Neville Island.

The once-struggling company earned $15.3 million in 2007, a 10-year high, and posted revenue of $351 million, an all-time record.

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