Vote Planned on Constellium Contract Offer

By
WOUB Contributing Writer

Dateline
Updated Mon, Sep 17, 2012 5:39 am

They will vote.

Local 5668 union officials say they'll let their members vote this week on the most recent contract offer from Constellium.

Union members say they're thankful for finally getting a voice.

The striking union workers in Jackson County will decide this week whether to accept or reject the company's latest contract offer.

Union officials say members of United Steelworkers Local 5668 will vote by secret ballot on Wednesday.

Four informational meetings on the contract proposal are scheduled for Tuesday.

The announcement comes after Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Senator Joe Manchin urged leaders to allow a vote.

We spoke to a union wife who says union officials didn't tell members about the proposed vote Wednesday.

The strike by members of United Steelworkers Local 56-68 against Constellium Rolled Products is now a month and a half old.

And while the mayor of Ravenswood says it hasn't yet taken a toll on the city's economy, he adds families of the strikers may individually be feeling the pinch.

"Those families have less money to spend at our shops and our restaurants," Mayor Michael Ihle said Friday.

"So it does hurt a little bit. We haven't seen a full-blown impact that would happen if the plant would close down. We've been holding together."

Mayor Ihle says that, because the union is helping members pay utility bills, there hasn't been much of an effect on Ravenswood city revenues.

Meanwhile, government officials are weighing in on the strike...

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued the following statement Saturday:

"I am committed to continuing to work with both parties to bring this work stoppage to a conclusion. At the end of the day, it is up to the members to determine whether to accept the current offer.

"I hope each member carefully weighs this offer and what is in the best interest of themselves and their families.

"To that end, i encourage the full membership to take an up or down vote on it.

"I hope that everyone involved understands the hardships this has caused families, and that jobs and economic security are first and foremost on everyone's minds over these next few days" end quote.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said:

"Throughout these challenging negotiations, my priority has been to bring the parties together, treat everyone with respect and fairness and do our best to get our talented people back to work."

He goes on to say a vote is the next crucial step and strongly urges union leaders to reconsider Friday's decision.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller released a statement saying the negotiations are deeply important to the workers, their families and the entire Ravenswood community.

The senator adds he thinks it's essential for all members to have an opportunity to vote up or down on the company's latest proposal and hopes an agreement can be reached soon.

This article was contributed by WTAP Television in Parkersburg.

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