A National Labor Relations Board complaint against Allegheny Technologies accuses the Pittsburgh specialty metals producer of threatening United Steelworkers union members and violating terms of the previous labor agreement.
The 31-page complaint, filed by the federal agency Thursday, alleges the company bargained in bad faith during contract talks to negotiate a new labor agreement to replace one that expired June 30. Allegheny Technologies locked out 2,200 USW members at 12 plants in six states on Aug. 15 after the union rejected what the company said was its final offer.
The company has been operating the plants since then with management personnel and replacement workers.
“This complaint validates every significant charge the USW has made against ATI from the beginning,” USW International president Leo W. Gerard said in a statement issued by the union today.
He accused the company of engaging in ”a pattern of intimidation, manipulation and bad-faith bargaining.”
Allegheny Technologies said Thursday it will dispute the charges, arguing that the facts don’t support the allegation that it bargained in bad faith.
“This is the beginning of a potentially lengthy legal process that, including appeals, could take years to resolve,” the company said in a statement.
The complaint alleges Allegheny Technologies officials threatened union members with the loss of their jobs, benefits, and harsher working conditions if they did not agree to the company’s contract proposal or went on strike. The complaint said the company implied that replacement workers it planned to hire ”would steal [union] employees’ possessions and leave the plant in shambles” if workers went on strike.
It also accuses the company of unilaterally changing terms of the previous agreement by assigning work that was to be performed by union personnel to supervisors and non-union workers. The incidents occurred at plants in Brackenridge, Bagdad, Vandergrift and Latrobe, according to the complaint.
The company maintains it needs a lower cost, more flexible labor agreement in order to compete with lower cost global competitors. Allegheny Technologies lost $377.9 million last year.
Health care benefits for current employees, benefits for future employees, use of outside contractors, and work schedules have been the main issues in the contract talks. The parties returned to the bargaining table after the NLRB indicated in December that it would file a complaint. They met this week in Pittsburgh.
The company has until Feb. 25 to respond to the complaint. A hearing will be held May 23 in Pittsburgh before an administrative law judge.
Len Boselovic: email@example.com or 412-263-1941.