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Eramet, union still bargaining

By Diana DeCola, ddecola@mariettatimes.com


Officials with Eramet met with union officials Wednesday to continue negotiations on the employee benefit contract but no agreement was reached. Another meeting is scheduled for Monday to continue the discussion.

Denny Longwell, staff representative for District One of the United Steelworkers Union, gave a positive outlook on the day’s meeting.

“We are bargaining. There are some very difficult issues we’re dealing with,” Longwell said. “Both parties worked long and hard today and I think it’s positive that we’re meeting again next week.”

Longwell did not want to give any details of the meeting that lasted about 41/2 hours. Jim Deem, president of the local union, did not say much either, but also had a good attitude about the meeting.

“I think they were listening to us today and maybe we’re working towards each other,” Deem said.

The lockout has gone on for almost five months now. About 25 employees have retired since the beginning of the dispute. Eramet reported that it is using its 115 salaried workers and about 30 temporary workers during the dispute to continue production.

Steve Turner, 51, of Marietta, a union worker for the company for 18 years, said the number of temporary workers is actually anywhere from 50 to 70.

In August, the workers rejected a contract that would freeze pension plans and change their medical benefits. Then in early December they voted down the second offer.

Eramet reported that the average union employee makes about $19.50 and hour but Turner said about $2 of his hourly pay goes toward his benefits before the check is cut.

Last week, the union offered a counter proposal to the company’s most recent proposal. This week, negotiations continued with no resolution, though. Ethan Frank-Collins, director of human resources for Eramet, said the discussions Wednesday were “constructive.”

“It’s always a positive thing when we’re having a dialogue,” Frank-Collins said.

 

 

 








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