Steelworkers locked out by ATI rally to go back to work

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)- Steelworkers picketed outside Allegheny Technologies in Lockport on Tuesday fighting for their jobs.

“We went to work one day, we were there about four hours and they told us all to go home,” said Todd Prynn, who has worked for the company for 11 years.

Prynn is one of about 44 hourly employees locked out by the company on August 15 after contract negotiations stalled.

“They wanted to take away our 40 hour guaranteed work week, be able to schedule us whenever they wanted to they wanted, a 300 percent increase in healthcare costs,” said Mike Swan, the local president for United Steelworkers Union.

Swan told News 4 the company asked for 145 concessions, the union agreed to some but not all. The union asked their last contract be extended until a new agreement is made.

“We want to work, we never wanted to go out,” said Swan. “That’s why we extended our contract looking to negotiate.”

The contract was extended month to month but then the company decided to lockout more than 2,200 employees nationwide.

We asked ATI over the phone how soon the workers will be able to get back on the job.

The company gave us a statement that read, in part, “overall, the dialogue has been generally constructive and we continue to focus on reaching a fair and more competitive labor agreement.”

ATI also announced Tuesday a net loss of $378 million in 2015, including a net loss of $227 million in the fourth quarter. The company said it’s due to a “drop in demand from the oil and gas market, and continued weakness in the global construction and mining equipment market.”

Union members feel differently.

“The money they’re losing is because of the fact they can’t deliver on their contracts and because of the fact they have so many scabs in,” said Swan. “They’re still paying the scabs what they would’ve been paying us.”

The steelworkers make a base salary of $56,000. Now, they only have about four weeks of unemployment left.

“I’ve got three kids, a wife it’s been hard on our family,” said Todd Prynn. “We’re basically just scraping to get by.”

The United Steelworkers Union wants the National Labor Relations Board to file charges against ATI, to call this an illegal lockout.

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