From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs…?
It’s been nearly three months since contract talks broke down and Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) locked out 2200 United Steelworkers-represented employees.
Now, despite having hundreds of millions in its defense fund, the United Steelworkers may be cutting back the strike pay it has been providing to locked out members allegedly to conserve money for upcoming negotiations with US Steel and ArcelorMittal, according to this WSWS report.
One ATI Vandergrift worker told the WSWS, “We ran into a couple of international representatives. They were talking about our strike and defense fund, and they were saying they wanted to lower that to save for US Steel and ArcelorMittal. That made me really angry. I’ve paid the USW International for 21 years, and I’ve never been paid a dime out for anything. Why are they worried about this? Is there not enough money there? If not, why?”
Another Vandergrift worker, interviewed separately, confirmed this. “I heard that too, through word of mouth.” He went on to explain that the current strike pay is inadequate. “Right now we only get $100 a week. That covers your grocery bill if you’re lucky. We’re told we’re allotted $200, and we only get $100.” [Emphasis added.]
According to the United Steelworkers constitution, union locals involved in a labor dispute (a strike or lock out) are given $200 per member to allocate on the basis of need.
Separately, ATI has notified its locked-out employees last week that it would stop paying its portion of their benefit costs at the end of November.
If employees want to continue benefit coverage, they have the right to pay the full COBRA costs—theirs and the company’s portion—on their own.
Read the rest here.