FARRELL — Negotiations Friday between NLMK and the union representing more than 400 workers resulted failed to move both sides closer to a new contract.
The strike is entering its second week with no new talks scheduled.
Jim Wells, unit president for United Steelworkers Local 1016-03, said Friday that NLMK management has not moved from its latest offer, which the union rejected.
“As always we are ready to meet and bargain in good faith,” Wells told The Herald.
In a show of solidarity Friday morning, more than 200 striking steelworkers rallied outside the plant.
Attempts by The Herald to contact NLMK Pennsylvania President Bob Miller Friday for comment were unsuccessful.
The company’s current offer, which it announced Wednesday in a press release, calls for a four-year contract with a salary increase of 2.5% in the first year and 2% raises in each of the three successive years.
It also gives employees the option of having health care insurance through a preferred provider organization or under a high-deductible plan. With the high-deductible plan, the company would contribute $2,350 into a health savings account that would leave employees with $2,150 out-of-pocket costs in the first year.
Union officials said both options would make health care insurance unaffordable for the membership by the time the contract expired. Todd Clary, a USW staff representative for Local 1016-03, said this week that the company had offered raises of 3% in the first year and 2.5% in the successive years, along with a $3,000-per-employee signing bonus that has been taken off the table.
Since the strike began on Aug. 22, NLMK has continued to operate with salaried employees, who are not part of the union. Miller said this week that the company is keeping up with orders.
Even before the strike, NLMK has been facing challenges from the tariffs on foreign-manufactured steel imposed by President Donald J. Trump in March of 2018. The company, which had been purchasing steel from its Russian parent company, has paid more than $160 million tariffs.
The U.S. Department of Commerce determined last year that NLMK could fill its need for steel slab, which it rolls into steel coil, from domestic sources and rejected the company’s tariff relief application.
On Friday, the union released a statement of support from steelworkers at Metallos FTGB, a Belgian manufacturer.