Special Metals and the International Association of Machinists Local 2310, the union representing special metal workers, are coming back to the negotiation table with hopes of settling a new labor contract.
More than 200 workers at the Middle Settlement Road facility went on strike Saturday, Aug. 17, citing an impasse over working hours. Ron Zegarelli, chief steward for the International Association of Machinists Local 2310, has said the company wants employees to work 60 hours a week, over six days, including holidays.
Jason Berdanier, vice president of the union, said negotiations had resumed Tuesday and continued Wednesday. He was unsure of any timeframe for the negotiations or when the workers would return to work.
Berdanier said the contract negotiations had been scheduled to resume last Thursday, but were called off Wednesday night by Special Metals. This was because the company had filed an unfair labor practice report against the striking workers, Berdanier said. The company met with the state Department of Labor instead on Thursday, he added.
“Special Metals negotiated in good faith and made a fair and equitable offer earlier this month,” said David Dugan, director of Communications for Special Metals, in an email last week.
The union's main issues now are the increase in working hours, unattainable vacation days, and a lack of cost of living increase. It remains to be seen how Special Metals will answer to these demands. The influence and power of the International Association of Machinists Local 2310 is eminent as the strike has resulted in a financial blow to Special Metals.
In the quest for coherent responses to the negotiation table, Special Metals and the International Association of Machinists Local 2310 must assess how far their negotiation strategy has progressed along multiple dimensions in their industries and the impact that this standstill is having—and will have—on economic performance of their company and union workers.