SHELBY – Nearly 500 employees at ArcelorMittal have been on strike since November 1 after the company and United Steel Workers Local 3057 failed to come to an agreement during contract negotiations.
Employees voted overwhelmingly in favor of a walkout when their contract expired at midnight on October 31, according to USW representative Brian Sealy.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited striking United Steelworkers (USW) in Shelby on Monday as they engage with ArcelorMittal North America in contract negotiations.
“All workers have the right to stand up for fair benefits and hours – and companies do better when they work collaboratively with the workers who make their businesses successful," Brown said. "Steelworkers worked seven days a week during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to keep supply chains running, and now they are asking for fair benefits and fair hours.
"I urge ArcelorMittal to agree to a fair contract that honors the Dignity of Work and sets our steel industry and workers up for long-term success well into the future.”
The company has declined previous interview requests with Richland Source.
“The union is not trying to break the company, we just want a fair contract,” said Dwight Gregory, USW Local 3057 President.
As previously reported in Richland Source, the workers at the Shelby facility worked continuously seven days a week throughout the pandemic, with few guaranteed weekends off. Two weeks ago, after ArcelorMittal abruptly ended contract negotiations, roughly 500 USW Local 3057 members went on strike.
Brown joined Brian Sealy, USW Sub-District 3 Director and Dwight Gregory, USW Local 3057 President at the picket line.
“The company has repeatedly stated at the bargaining table they cannot afford our proposals and have to work within a budget but they have continuously refused to provide any financials to the union,” Sealy said. “This plant made approximately $15 million in net income for the months of July, August and September.
"It is time for the company to step up!”
The Shelby plant was founded in 1890 by Jonas Feighner as Shelby Steel Tube. The plant became the birthplace of the seamless tubing industry in America. In 1908, the plant burned to the ground, so Shelby citizens bought stock to help rebuild the facility known today as Plant 1.
During World War I, all of the tubing produced by the plant was used to build American troop ships and other machinery to support the war effort. During World War II, the tubing was used to make airplanes, artillery and other machinery. The plant flown by Charles Lindbergh during his trans-Atlantic voyage contained parts made at the Shelby plant.
The employees at the plant banded together to form the USW Local 3057 in August 1943. The union currently has over 500 members. Those members are picketing the plant around the clock and asking for donations from the community.