BRADDOCK (KDKA) – Members of Steelworkers Local 1219 at the Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock say they are prepared to walk off the job, in efforts to iron out a new contract with U.S. Steel.
The vote does not mean that a strike is definite, but it will permit union leaders to call a strike against U.S. Steel if they deem it necessary.
Members voted Thursday night at their Union Hall, down the street from the Braddock plant.
Kevin Buckey, the vice president of USW Local 1219, said, “The vote was unanimous for a strike authorization. Next, we’ll see what the company proposal is for all of our members that’s prosperous for everyone.”
The Edgar Thomson plant has been operating in Braddock for about 150 years. And, Local 1219 is the latest chapter of the Steelworkers Union to authorize a strike.
“Nobody wants to strike, no one benefits, but if it’s the only way to get the message across, it’s what we have to do,” steelworker Mark Bukk said.
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Union members say pay raises are overdue, and they’re fighting to save their health care and retirement benefits. U.S. Steel said in a statement earlier this week that it does not anticipate a strike, and is trying to reach a “mutually agreeable conclusion” with the Steelworkers Union.
Rank and file steelworkers in Clairton voted similarly to authorize a strike earlier this week if contract talks fail.