Pennsylvania: ATI Steelworkers’ Strike Enters Fourth Week

By Blake Garrison

Steelworkers at Allegheny Technologies, Inc. (ATI) in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania are entering their fourth week on strike to demand a new contract including better wages and a quality health care plan. ATI is threatening to replace the contract with a worse offer if the union does not accept its current offer by Monday, April 26.

Workers on the picket line continue to speak out against ATI cutting jobs, their mistreatment of new, current, and retired workers alike, and the disparity between workers who sacrifice their lives for the job and company bosses who make millions a year.

“They make a profit either way—why can’t they keep making the stuff that will keep lots of people employed?” one worker commented on ATI’s shutdown of less-profitable production to produce specialty steel.

“There’s money on top of everything,” another worker added. “They bring raw materials in, turn it into coils, ship them back out—there’s money on top of that. We know what type of material it is, we know how much it costs, so they can’t tell us they’re not making a profit. When they say they’re not making a profit, what that means is they just aren’t making as big a profit as they want.”

Workers report scabs are already in place at the facility and being trained to take over: “They bus them in, in vans with tinted windows and out-of-state plates,” reported a worker’s wife. During the lockout in 2015, some workers took a combative stance against the company and scabs, attempting to block the road and throwing rocks. They were fired after the lockout ended. Most workers are hesitant to use such methods again without greater numbers to back them up, but several workers told Tribune that winning demands from the company requires stopping the scabs, which requires more militant tactics.

One worker commented on the overall struggle of workers nationally and internationally: “You vote, then nothing changes. You vote for another guy. Nothing changes. […] When you get to a certain point and people have nothing to lose, that leads to revolution.”

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