From staff reports
Labor negotiations are expected to resume this week between Eramet
Marietta and nearly 300 United Steelworkers, who claim they’ve been
locked out of the Ohio 7 plant since Aug. 26.
The two sides have met twice since pickets went up at entrances to the plant between Marietta and Belpre.
just about at the same place we were last week. The company still isn’t
willing to make any changes to the contract,” said Jim Deem, president
of USW Local 1-00639-01.
Workers have been on the picket lines for seven weeks. Meanwhile, about 20 workers have found work elsewhere, Deem said.
do have some people finding work elsewhere and we have no problem with
that,” Deem said. “They’ve got to find a way to make it out there. I
don’t know if their plans are to come back when this is over or not.”
The dispute is rooted in proposed changes to pension plans and retiree medical costs.
Frank-Collins, human resources manager at Eramet, said the company is
working toward a Wednesday meeting, though a time and place has yet to
“We’re certainly hopeful we can find a resolution
to the situation as quickly as possible,” Frank-Collins said. “It’s
hard to imagine going six weeks without a paycheck and we’re eager to
get our workforce back as quickly as possible.”
“I hear people
concerned that the plant is going to close; I don’t see any basis for
that concern. The plant is running well and can be a profitable
Eramet officials, who call the dispute a strike,
have said the concessions in medical costs and retirement are necessary
to ensure the long-term viability of the plant. The specialty metal
plant has operated for more than 50 years in Marietta under various
The company plans to freeze pension plans, leaving
employees the option of enrolling in a modified benefit plan of $30 per
month for each year of service (plus what the worker has accumulated
through the end of 2006), or workers can opt into a 401(k) plan with a
dollar-for-dollar match, up to 5 percent.
Deem said no meeting between his group and Eramet officials has been set.
“I’d expect it will be sometime before next week,” he said.
labor dispute at Eramet is the first since 1985, when members of the
Oil, Chemical and Atomic workers walked off their jobs for three weeks.
At that time, the company was owned by Elkem.
Eramet, a French-owned company, took control of the plant in 1999.