Strikers at ATI steel hold rallies, expanded pickets, win more support

By Tony Lane
July 5, 2021

WASHINGTON, Pa. — “We want to let ATI know we are not going anywhere,” Randy Denman Jr., unit chair of United Steelworkers Local 7139-5 at the Allegheny Technologies Inc. plant here, told the press June 22 as pickets and their supporters chanted, “Fair contract now!” 

Well over 100 strikers, other unionists and family members joined the lively rally and expanded picket line. USW members present included striking ATI workers from Local 1046 from Louisville, Ohio. Mike Baumgardner, Local 1046 grievance chair, said ATI bosses were refusing to sit down and discuss a contract. Two retired United Mine Workers members came in camo T-shirts. The rally was covered by the Washington Observer-Reporter, WJPA radio and the Pittsburgh Business Times. 

The company has been shuttering union-organized mills and shifting production to unorganized operations in North Carolina. Some 1,300 USW members have been on strike at nine ATI locations in five states since March 30. 

On June 21 Westmoreland County Labor Council joined strikers on the picket line at ATI’s Latrobe plant amid heavy storms. The union has been organizing expanded pickets for the last couple weeks, seeking to press the bosses and win broader support. 

“The company has offered to give the employees a raise, but only if they give up their profit-sharing plan and pay health care premiums,” Denman told the Observer-Reporter. He said he has had to pay thousands of dollars in co-pays and deductibles in recent years, and hasn’t had a raise to offset it. Workers haven’t had a pay increase since 2014. 

“Since our last bargaining session, the union has sent multiple communications and offers to the company, and they have NOT responded,” the USW reported in a June 14 strike bulletin. 

Help win solidarity for the strike! Join the picket lines. Send your support or contributions to USW Local 7139 at 1505 Jefferson Ave., Washington, PA 15301, or USW Local 1046, 925 W. St. Louis Ct., Louisville, OH 44641.