Approximately 2,200 workers represented by the USW were locked out by Allegheny Technologies, Inc. during contract negotiations. The lockout affected workers at 12 manufacturing plants in six states. The parties’ previous agreement expired June 30, and the union and company disagreed about critical areas, including healthcare benefits, benefits for employees hired after the expiration of the contract, and updates to work rules. The company issued its last, best, and final offer, which included lump sum payments in each of the four years of the agreement and a general wage increase of $1 per hour. The union has complained the company did not allow enough time to review the final offer before instituting the lockout.
An arbitration panel issued nonbinding recommendations to help settle a longstanding (since 2011) New Jersey Transit bargaining dispute. The panel, appointed by President Obama, recommended a 17 percent wage increase retroactive to 2012, and that employees contribute 2 percent of base wages to health insurance, also retroactive to 2012. These recommendations closely mirrored the proposals made by a coalition of unions, while New Jersey Transit proposed a pay increase of 10.4 percent and major changes to the health care plan. The parties have 90 days remaining in a period during which a strike or lockout is prohibited under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). If the parties cannot agree on a deal in the next 90 days, either side or the state governor can request a second panel, which would commence a new 120day cooling off period with no strike or lockout permitted until March 2016.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) organized a oneday walkout at Logan International Airport in Boston, the second walkout since June to protest alleged unfair labor practices. Approximately 100 cleaners and baggage handlers employed by a contractor participated in the strike. Two unfair labor charges are pending against the employer, who argued that the National Mediation Board, rather than the NLRB, has jurisdiction over employees of airline contractors.
With contracts between the USW and U.S. Steel Corp. and ArcelorMittal are set to expire on September 1, the USW has organized marches and other events at the U.S. Steel factory in Gary, Ind.. Bargaining began in June on the two contracts, which would cover 17,000 workers at U.S. Steel and 13,000 at ArcelorMittal. U.S. Steel announced earlier this month that it was closing a facility in Fairfield, Ala., affecting some 2,000 workers. USW told workers at ArcelorMittal to prepare for a possible strike or lockout.
The New Jersey State AFLCIO executive board resolved to boycott the Taj Mahal and Tropicana casinos in Atlantic City, N.J. The resolution calls on the union’s 1.1 million members to boycott and was adopted unanimously. The boycott is a measure of support for UNITE HERE Local 54, an AFLCIO affiliate that represents the workers at the two casinos. The UNITE HERE local organized a boycott against the Taj Mahal to protest the actions of Carl Icahn, who owns the Tropicana and will take ownership of the Taj Mahal in a debt swap but has demanded a bankruptcy exit plan that includes elimination of health care and retirement benefits.
Workers at a nuclear weapons plant in Amarillo, Texas have commenced a strike. The 1,100 workers at the Pantex facility are represented by the Metal Trades Department of the AFLCIO. The workers had previously rejected a contract offer by Consolidated Nuclear Security because it included changes to medical insurance and sick leave. Contract negotiations have been ongoing since January.