Members of United Steelworkers Local 5668 voted Wednesday to accept a new five-year contract offer from Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, ending a strike by union workers that began August 5.
Actual vote totals have not been made available, but a hand-signed notice by negotiating committee memebrs on the Local 5668 Fort Unity website proclaimed Wednesday night, “The contract has passed!”
Union members voted by secret ballot on the offer Wednesday form 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
The accepted company contact offer which was extended from Saturday's deadline to accommodate the union vote provides employees with a $7,500 ratification bonus, 2.5 percent wage increases in each year of the contract, and other economic benefits. The offer includes a 95/5 healthcare plan that pays for 95 percent of covered healthcare costs. Employees will not pay for healthcare premiums until 2017, and then at rates that are significantly less than half of the national average – only $17.31 per week for family coverage.
“We appreciate the work of Gov. Tomblin, Sen. Manchin, Sen. Rockefeller, Steelworkers International President Gerard, and the staff of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to get this offer presented to employees,” said Ravenswood CEO Kyle Lorentzen. “We believe this is a generous proposal – especially given the current difficult economic environment – and hope that employees and their families agree.”
Lorentzen acknowledged the work of salaried staff to maintain certain production activities at the plant to serve customer needs since the union called employees out on strike August 5.
“We have tremendous potential here in Ravenswood,” Lorentzen said. “We've invested heavily in new equipment and technology to compete on a global scale, and we have secured the opportunity to increase production through new contracts with our customers. We have the opportunity to write a new chapter in the future growth of Ravenswood.”
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a statement Wednesday night.
"I am extremely pleased the members voted to ratify the contract this evening,” said Tomblin. “I want to thank both the company and the union for their hard work in resolving the work stoppage. This deal is extremely important to Jackson County's economy, the over 1,000 workers employed by Constellium, and the entire state of West Virginia. It will be great to see the workers back at the plant soon."