Steel of WV, USW reach tentative deal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Workers at the Steel of West Virginia facility in Huntington will likely be staying on the job.

The United Steelworkers Local 37 and the corporate management Tuesday night reached an agreement on a tentative contract that will avert a strike that was planned for this week.

Workers are expected to vote on the new pact Friday. Details of the new plan were not available as of press time.

Email newsletter signup

The Huntington facility employees 441 bargaining unit employees; 60-100 of those people are Ohioans.

Until Tuesday evening, many of the major sticking points to a new contract had to do with employee benefits, union officials said.

The company’s “last, best and final offer” handed down over the weekend had asked employees to pay more for health benefits. An employee receiving a family plan health insurance was being asked to pay $30 a month at the beginning of the contract and $120 a month by the end of it.

Also, International United Steelworkers Servicing Staff Representative Carl Hall said the company had sought the right to modify its insurance plan at any time.

“This unilateral right is totally offensive and the impact this would have on employees can’t even be calculated,” Hall had said earlier this week.

The “last best and final offer did contain a 50-cent-an-hour pay hike each year for the life of the four-year pact.

Bruce Groff, vide president of Steel of West Virginia, could not be reached for comment.

Workers had been on the job without a contract since April when Steel Dynamics, Inc. purchased the Huntington facility. Steel of West Virginia also owns a facility in Wurtland, Ky.