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Latest News - June 2014

June 10, 2014
AK Steel, Middletown union reach new labor contract
Source: Dayton Daily News
By: Chelsey Levingston

Butler County steelmaker AK Steel and its largest union announced on Tuesday a new labor agreement has been reached about three months early.

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1943, which represents approximately 1,650 hourly production and maintenance workers at steel plant Middletown Works, ratified a new 42-month labor agreement in a Monday night vote, said Local 1943 President Neil Douglas.

The current agreement was set to expire Sept. 15. The new agreement replaces the old one, and is set to expire March 15, 2018.

Negotiations lasted two weeks, Douglas said. Once a tentative agreement was reached between the company and the union, three voting days were held for members. Voting ended Monday, and a majority of Middletown Works employees who voted on the contract approved the new agreement, Douglas said.

The contract covers member wages, health benefits and working conditions.

“We received an increase in wages. We received an increase in pension,” Douglas said. “We also received an increase in our VEBA contribution.”

The Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association fund offsets the cost of pre-medicare retirement insurance. It helps pay for health care services for workers who retire before they qualify for the federal Medicare program, he said.

“The wage increase that we got is compatible with the other plants,” the union president said. “But we will always strive in negotiations to get more wages for our membership.”

Company officials declined comment beyond what was stated in a release.

“The agreement continues to serve the interests of both the company and Local 1943 members in a highly competitive, global steel marketplace,” James Wainscott, chairman, president and chief executive officer of AK Steel, said in a statement.

By reaching a new labor deal early, company leaders know they have an agreement in place and it reassures “membership that things are going to continue,” Douglas said.

Fortune 500 company AK Steel Holding Corp. is headquartered in West Chester Twp. Between operations in West Chester and the Middletown Works steel plant, AK Steel employs approximately 2,400 full-time workers in Butler County, making it the county’s third-largest employer.

AK Steel facilities in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Minnesota employ more than 6,000 altogether and produce flat-rolled carbon, electrical and stainless steels used by the automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets




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