By Kevin Pierson, Special to The Times
The work stoppage at Eramet, Marietta, remains in place after officials
with the company and the United Steelworkers Local 00639 failed to
reach an agreement during a meeting that lasted roughly two hours
The two sides remain far apart on reaching
a resolution to the stoppage, said Ethan Frank-Collins, human resources
manager at Eramet.
“We met with the union and the situation basically remains the same. A large gap remains,” Frank-Collins said.
Union President Jim Deem agreed the two sides remain far apart.
the meeting the union made a contract offer to Eramet that was
rejected. Deem declined to give specifics on the contract until after
speaking with the union’s international representative but said the
union’s contract proposal offered concessions on three of the major
sticking points in the negotiations — retirement, retiree insurance and
“Everything that we offered would still be a concession. It just would not be as great as they’re asking for,” Deem said.
company made no counter-offer and stands by what it calls its “last,
best offer” which is already on the table, Frank-Collins said.
“We are open to continuing discussions with the union but our position is firm,” Frank-Collins said.
Deem said he is disappointed in the company’s refusal to move from their current position.
company is not willing to move an inch. We’ve moved on the issues that
they wanted way past what we were asking to try to get some kind of
move on their part and they won’t move at all,” Deem said.
Eramet employee and union member Larry Woods, 55, of Marietta, the
decrease in retirement benefits is the driving force behind the
decision to reject Eramet’s proposed contract.
“I’ve got 27 years in with this company and with this plan it would cost me $1,100 a month in my retirement,” Woods said.
the work stoppage, deemed a strike by the company and a lockout by the
union, continues Eramet is using its 115 salaried employees and about
30 temporary workers to meet the demands of its customers with the
possibility of hiring additional temporary workers.
certainly conceivable that if this strike were to continue that that
number (of temporary workers) would grow over time,” Frank-Collins said.
Members of the union have offered to work under the terms of the expired contract but the company has rejected that offer.
said he is hopeful that the two sides will reach an equitable agreement
soon and return the union members to work but no additional contract
meetings are currently scheduled.