By Justin McIntosh, email@example.com
About the company
more than 50 years, Eramet’s local plant has produced manganese and
other special metal products used by the steel, aluminum, superalloys
and specialty steel industries.
On the Net
A counteroffer to end the more than 136-day labor dispute was presented by union leaders to Eramet officials Tuesday.
proposal by United Steelworkers Local 00639 came in a federally
mediated meeting at the Lafayette Hotel. It is in response to the
company’s proposal that was rejected by steelworkers on Dec. 6.
Ethan Frank-Collins, Eramet human resources manager, declined to discuss specifics of the proposal.
carefully considering the offer and preparing our response,”
Frank-Collins said. “We don’t have another meeting scheduled at this
point, but we hope to contact the union before the end of this week to
discuss plans for our next meeting date.”
Denny Longwell, staff
representative of the District 1 United Steelworkers Union, also
declined to discuss specifics of the counteroffer, but said pension
plans continue to be a part of the sticking points for union members.
think it's always good when the parties agree to meet,” Longwell said.
“We said to the company a week ago and we said to them again today
‘we're willing and desire to meet as often as possible to get this
The meeting was attended by Longwell, six
local union representatives, the federal mediator and two Eramet
officials, Longwell said.
About 290 steelworkers have been off
the job since late August 2006 when they rejected a proposed labor
contract from the Ohio 7 plant. Approximately 25 have retired since the
start of the labor dispute.
Eramet has been using its 115
salaried employees and about 30 temporary workers to meet the demands
of its customers with the possibility of hiring additional temporary
In the proposal rejected in August, union officials
said, Eramet aimed to freeze workers’ pension plans, cap insurance for
retired workers and to raise current employees’ out-of-pocket medical
expenses by as much as 85 percent.
The workers contend the
proposed changes to medical costs will consume nearly all of retirees’
monthly pensions. About a quarter of the union force is within a few
years of retirement, while the average age of the union workforce at
Eramet is 50.
In addition to frozen pensions, the proposed
contracts would have left employees the option of enrolling in a
modified benefit plan of $30 a month for each year of service (plus
what the worker accumulated through the end of 2006), or the option of
enrolling in a 401(k) plan with a dollar for dollar match, up to 5
The contract rejected in December offered a 51/2
percent match for its 401 (k) plan, and modified caps for retiree
Eramet officials say 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 different ownership.
The average Eramet
union worker earns $19.53 per hour. As part of its proposal, the
company proposed a pay increase of $1.71 per hour over the next three
Eramet has called the dispute a labor strike, while the
union has called it a lockout by the company. A court has ruled the
dispute a lockout, helping to clear the way for the workers to collect
For more than 50 years, Eramet’s local
plant has produced manganese and other special metal products used by
the steel, aluminum, superalloys and specialty steel industries. Eramet
Marietta is one of the largest producers of these products in the
world, according to the company.