By Diana DeCola, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Denny Longwell, staff representative for District
One of the United Steelworkers Union, gave a positive outlook on the
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.