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Latest News - May 2012

May 18, 2012
Keystone union approves contract after prior rejection
Source: Journal Star
By: Steve Tarter

Hourly employees at Keystone Steel & Wire Co. ratified a new three-year contract Thursday that results in small wage increases over the life of the agreement.

Members of the Independent Steelworkers Alliance voted 474-105 to ratify the agreement.
The previous contract expired May 3 but was extended, pending the ratification vote.
“I want to emphasize that there were no concessions. There are a lot of happy employees right now,” said ISWA President Tim Potter.
The package, he said, will result in slightly lower health insurance costs for employees while maintaining the 401(k) program. Members also received a $250 signing bonus.
In the previous six years, Keystone hourly workers received $1.90 an hour pay increases total while the new contract will increase pay to union members by $1.65 an hour total over the three-year period, said Potter.
In an earlier vote, ISWA members had rejected the contract offer.
“I like to look at the bottom line: This contract was ratified by an overwhelming margin,” he said.
Efforts to reach a representative of Keystone management were unsuccessful.
“We didn’t take any concessions — in wages or in our pension. This is one of the best contracts we’ve had in the past 15 years,” said Potter.
As a 33-year employee at Keystone, Potter said the company has been through a lot in that time, overcoming a downturn in the U.S. steel industry, bankruptcy and a state bailout.
“As a historical note, it was almost 30 years ago to the day in 1982 that we voted on a contract that had concessions at that time. We also had 1,600 union employees back then,” he said.
Today the Keystone union has 680 members, said Potter. 

“(Now) the steel industry is doing well. We’ve hired 30 to 40 people this year and we’re continuing to hire,” he said.



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