United Steelworkers appear ready to authorize strike

Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 105, Bettendorf, appear ready to authorize a strike against Arconic if contract talks break down.

Union members are voting during six sessions today, May 12, on that strike authorization. According to the Local 105 Facebook page, union members at the voting sessions at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. “voted unanimously to authorize a strike if we can’t come to an agreement.”

More strike votes are scheduled for 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. today at the Isle of Capri Conference Center, 1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf.

Union officials were unavailable for comment Thursday morning.

The vote does not mean the union will strike, but it does “authorize a strike against Arconic should we be unsuccessful in reaching an agreement that is acceptable to the USW,” according to a post placed on Local 105’s Facebook page on Saturday, May 7.

In a statement Thursday, John Riches, communications and public affairs manager for Arconic Davenport Works, said “Arconic is aware that the USW plans to hold a strike authorization vote, which is a normal step in the bargaining process.   We believe we can reach an agreement that is in the best interest of our employees and look forward to continuing negotiations at the bargaining table.”

The company’s current three-year contract with the USW was approved in 2019 and expires on Sunday, May 15. Contract talks began Tuesday, April 26, in Pittsburgh.

Lee Shaffer, Local 105 guide, told the QCBJ earlier this week that the goal is not to strike, but to get a fair contract from the company. Currently, contract talks continue, but are going a “little slower than we would like,” he said.

“I’m hopeful (a new contract will be approved.) This is the way it always seems to go; it goes down to the last minute,” Mr. Shaffer added.

The union includes workers with USW Local 105, Bettendorf, who are employed at Arconic Davenport Works in Riverdale. Arconic is one of the largest employers in the Quad Cities region. Local 105 includes about 1,750 union workers at Davenport Works, according to information from the union.

This year’s contract talks are expected to focus on wages and benefits for USW members working at four Arconic locations — Davenport Works; Lafayette, Indiana; Massena, New York; and Alcoa, Tennessee.

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