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Negotiations continuing at steel mill

Apr 3, 2012 | 82 Comments

News-Register Staff

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01:30 am - Tue, April 3 2012
PH50 said:
I wish I had one of those high paying jobs. They are crazy not going to work over this. I bet there are hundreds of people around Yamhill County that would love to go to work there.
02:00 am - Tue, April 3 2012
MacTown24YearCitizen said:
My dad has been with the mill for nearly 25 years. I can say for at least him that not everyone wants to strike. Some people would like to go back to work to continue supporting themselves and their families.
03:44 am - Tue, April 3 2012
troy prouty said:
I think it's foolish to strike when the company is struggling and have been laying people off. I'm not sure they are going to like the longer term conseqences of this.

Troy Prouty*
07:36 am - Tue, April 3 2012
-King- said:
Cost of living is going up, and their benefits aren't keeping up. They are paying more for insurance, food, gas, mortgage, etc. The economy isn't getting better and the company should know that. Cascade Still Rolling Mills has been profiting for the past years. They have the money, this is just a company not willing to split a piece of the pie. I don't have family who works at this company, but I do know of some people. They might have a higher salary than the average McMinnville worker, but they are at risk of danger more than others, at times. This company obviously knows it loses money when the mill is "off." I do believe most workers don't want to strike, nobody wins when there is a strike.
09:34 am - Tue, April 3 2012
Colins monny said:
I would say that most of the people that work there are grateful for their jobs and do NOT want to strike. It is my opinion that the person representing all of those workers is trying to stretch his muscles because he's in jeopardy of losing his union title. He's had his own agenda for awhile now and this seems like his chance to prove his worth. These workers want to continue feeding there families under a solid roof. And have good running vehicles to get them where they need to be. God bless.
10:16 am - Tue, April 3 2012
DM said:
I think Colins monny hit the nail on the head.
10:22 am - Tue, April 3 2012
Kona said:
Union reps often do not represent the feelings of the members. But, the way intimidation works (bullying) the members are not in a good position to speak up against the union.
01:01 pm - Tue, April 3 2012
Obie said:
Too bad as Schnitzer hasn't made a profit from Cascade in years due to the economy but continues to operate without asking workers for a pay cut. There are hundreds that would love to have those jobs but imagine this is yet another example of unions doing what's good for the union and not the workers...
02:16 pm - Tue, April 3 2012
ItIsWhatItIs said:
"Cost of living is going up, and their benefits aren't keeping up. They are paying more for insurance, food, gas, mortgage, etc. The economy isn't getting better and the company should know that"

Well, wake up, this is not only true for the mill workers, it's true for all of us, even without pay cuts many of us are taking home less money because we have to pay more for benefits, and everything else. Companies are scared about the future and need to be conservative, yes, that is unfortunate for the rest of us but it's the truth right now.

I know hundreds of people apply when there are only a hand-full of openings - if the mill workers think they can do better somewhere else, I challenge them to go ahead and try. Unless they are strking because their health and life is at risk, I say go back to work....Geez, right now we need to be thankful we even have a job.
03:48 pm - Tue, April 3 2012
anglingaddict said:
Yes, Colins did hit the nail on the head as well as Obie! What this local union does not realize is that they should just be thankful the Schnitzer family / company is keeping Cascade Steel running, not to mention the benefits they give the workers there! I heard so many of them complain about those benefits before yet a good number of them have never worked anywhere else so how would they even know?! Besides, if it's so great elsewhere why not pack up and go there???!! Bad enough they have to work in a "closed shop" where it's be part of the union or you don't have a job, but to have that union's leadership encourage a strike to hurt the company that feeds them like this is just plain pathetic! High time for new leadership on the union side who knows how to help create true win/win scenarios for both the workers AND the company!! $.02

04:21 pm - Tue, April 3 2012
bottom line said: why don't you work there? My husband has worked there 20 years. He has worked crazy shifts..long 12 plus hours..he has come home with cuts..burns..drenched in sweat from the extreme heat..110 decible noise head aches..and yes ph50 he wears the correct protective gear. He has watched his so so insurance go from bad to worse and his wages froze. He is a war vet..not some guy who is not grateful for what he has or is lazy. To be treated fairly is what they are asking for..your ignorance is shameful..I am proud of my husband and all who work there. They deserve better. He is proud they have a voice.
06:40 pm - Tue, April 3 2012
anglingaddict said:
Sorry "bottom line" but US Benefits is better than far too many of the people working there give it credit for! Yes, I do have first hand knowledge / experience with them and can also say that they are better than many federal program choices even. I'm not too surprised to hear folks saying it went from "bad to worse" though since they actually had to start paying for some of their premiums heaven forbid.
07:23 pm - Tue, April 3 2012
NimbWhitIB said:
Unless you stand on the inner circle of these two sides,It is hard to know the facts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I hope the best for all.
08:08 pm - Tue, April 3 2012
bottom line said:
That's very thoughtful of you nimbwhitib...thanks for that.
05:04 am - Wed, April 4 2012
judgenot said:
To all the people who are judging these guys at the mill, I URGE you to get the facts first. The reason these guys get a living wage is because they have fought tooth and nail for it. This is what they are doing now, trying to retain their wages, which Cascade Steel is trying to take away, along with all the benefits they have fought so hard for. If you do not support them, you could very well end up with their dangerous, life threatning jobs, but you will be doing it for minimum wage, plus a MANDATORY 16 hour workday. Please I URGE you to support them in their attempt to keep their jobs. PLEASE don't judge them until you get all the facts.
07:22 am - Wed, April 4 2012
Kona said:

Those are pretty flimsy facts. Exactly what is the decrease in wages being proposed? Exactly what is the decrease in benefits being proposed? Exactly what is the decrease in working conditions being proposed? Until you answer those questions, you are just making a straw man argument that is of no value. No one will be working at Cascade for minimum wage. No one will be working a MANDATORY 16 hour workday. How hard did these people fight for these wages and benefits? Do you call walking off the job as "fighting hard"?

These employees get a "living wage" because the value of their job is at a "living wage" level. Wage levels change if the value of the job decreases for the employer. Sometimes that level decreases.
08:47 am - Wed, April 4 2012
sbagwell said:
Edited to correct: According to the union, the company is seeking a four-year wage freeze, a doubling of the current 10 percent employee health insurance contribution and various working condition concessions. The company says it is not seeking a rollback in wages, but has not divulged specifics of what it is seeking. We just have the union word on that.

Steve Bagwell, Managing Editor
08:58 am - Wed, April 4 2012
Kona said:
Thank you.

You said, "We just have the union word on that".

Good luck with that.
10:04 am - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:
As an union worker i do have a few things to say here, first of all, What Mr. Dyck says about handing out a letter to workers monday morning is not true, i was working that day and the letter he is referring to was not handed out until after 630 pm after the day shift had finished the shift, and he was even late in doing that, and not willing to look people in the eye while handing it out. To those of you that have never worked there i ask how can you comment on working conditions when you dont know them? have you ever had to walk on rebar that is anywhere from 400 to 600 degrees in the dead of summer? have you had to sit in a stiffling heat with no air movement in the same conditions? how about hexavalant chrome? how many of you have to inhale this? do a little research on the affects of hex chrome and what it has done to some of our national guard troops over seas. in the winter we have to be standing on the same product when its below freezing with wind and rain or snow blowing into the warehouses with no shelter. this leads to illnesses and fatigue. do any you have the high noises we deal with such as the furnace arcing or the cooling fans running louder than standing next to a revving jet engine? my children have seen me come home with cuts and burns, my feet dried out from walking on the product, dehydrated and exhausted. the union went to the company in 2010 and offered an extension and no pay raise for a year when the economy was still bad and the company accepted, in early 2009 the union agreed to rolling layoffs instead of a full mass layoff so people could keep their medical benifits but some people seem to forget that, such as the company. cascade made roughly $9 million profit in the last year, but now they want to treat us as if we are the equipment and not the brain and brawn that made that possible. we just want to be treated fairly. we dont want to strike, but sometimes a strike is the only way to get the companies attention.
10:17 am - Wed, April 4 2012
GoUnion said:
Well said Just Me!!!

@ Kona, like we can believe anything that comes out of the company's mouth. 13 proposals later, and all of them just to the company's benefit is not bargaining in good faith. Make realistic proposals and maybe we'll get somewhere. Make a stand and fight. Don't just accept a rotten contract because "we're lucky to have a job."
10:28 am - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:
angling addict, as for just packing up and moving on, i do have pride, i own a home and am not willing to just pack up and walk away from it. kona, unless you have read the contract proposals from both sides how would you know what they are? with the general cost of living going up and minimum wage increasing, with a long term wage freeze, in theory, minimum wage could catch up. but figuring cost of living does not include some of the basics such as gas or diesel for transportation, or electricity for our homes. as far as wage levels go, my job and several others in my area require knowledge of many differant pieces of equipment and procedures that are always changing.
10:34 am - Wed, April 4 2012
GoUnion said:
And in President Jeff Dyck's letter that he handed out he had the audacity to tell the union members they could "scab" and cross the picket line. Here is the direct quote from the dyck:

"If for some reason the Union asks you to refuse to come to work, it is your right to choose to come to work. The Union has no legal right to force you to refuse work. We want to assure you that you are free to make your own decision. No reprisals will be taken against you whatever decision you make regarding your membership status."

Really Jeff?????? Afraid you won't get your big bonus at the end of the year????

When you get pushed into a corner it's time to stand and fight!!!!
10:48 am - Wed, April 4 2012
Standbymyman said:

Judgenot~ I agree with you 100%.. What is that old saying...Until you have walked a mile in their shoes??..We Americans continously are rolling over and taking whatever we are told too.. no matter the price or effect it has on our homes, lives and loved ones. There are men and women that go to that plant every day, for the sole reason of providing for their families and putting food on their table..Families they rarely get to see because of the long hours and rotating shifts. They are standing up for the wages and benefits they have work hard and long to earn. Not to mention the dangerous, hazardous environment they walk into every day to accomplish that goal. I have read some of your statements like " they should be grateful to have job." And I am here to tell you everyone of them are grateful.. and scared to death to lose homes, vehicles, food etc... but at least they have the foresight not to just give up and roll over!! Where would be today if or Forefathers said to England awe..heck guys just give whatever you want too..As a society we have become weak and want to blame everyone else for our short comings and problems..then want to point fingers at one who wants to stand up for their rights and get things fixed. A safe work place, the insurance that if your injured you don't get screwed over. Also, what about all the money that stays in the community from these many other business are going to be effected.It is a sad pitiful people we have become...breaks my heart!!!
And yes I will always stand by my man with pride!! Because he is one!
10:54 am - Wed, April 4 2012
Standbymyman said:
Bottomline~ I m right there with you..exhaust and in pain I have watch my man endure hell at time to get the job done~ you are not alone..and thank-you for you statements~it is deeply appreciated!!!
10:55 am - Wed, April 4 2012
-King- said:
Well said "GoUnion & just me." Some people think that it's just a job, yet it's not one they have worked. Nobody knows what you guys go through. I wish the best for all the workers, and hopefully an agreement is reached soon.
11:04 am - Wed, April 4 2012
Kona said:
OK, everyone is pretty much saying how bad Cascade Steel is. What exactly are they offering that is objectionable? Are they offering a decrease in compensation, or what? Be specific rather than just throwing darts.
11:22 am - Wed, April 4 2012
garr55 said:
Thank you all for your support,i do work at the mill and can be honest to say nobody is getting rich there but the management.We live from paycheck to paycheck just like everybody else if you pencil in what we pay for dues,insurance taxes well its a twelve dollar an hour job.And JUST ME did a awesome job explaining how it really is.My version ........Standing on your stove with and four burners on with no place to go and falling down from the heat on a hot surface.We deal with danger everyday and that is only a small part of it that was mentioned above.We are not asking for the world just a fair shake and believe me the company can afford it.Remember we are part of this community and our dollars are spent here.Again those that support us thank you
11:41 am - Wed, April 4 2012
retiredbs said:
Those union workers who threaten a strike, or management who don't want to negotiate should take a look at a possible consequence. Here is a link of what happens when things get too far out of hand. It is still a vacant piece of property today (12 years later). Hundreds of jobs lost, and for what? Most likely Union and Management had an ax to grind or something to prove to their constituents. In the above, the County lost tax revenue, the City of Mead lost tax revenue, the workers lost their jobs and ability to pay for homes, cars, medical insurance, etc. and management also lost their jobs and ability to pay personal expenses. There defiantly is a “trickle down” consequence if one of the largest employers in this area would just happen to say, “enough is enough” or the Union would say the same. Just how much would this cost our community if this plant was to shut down? How many county or city workers would lose their jobs as a result of lost revenue? When either side takes a “take it or leave it” approach to negotiations, the above will surely happen. Finally, those who complain about the heat, cold, rain, etc., I have a question. Were these surprises to you or maybe did you see this on your first day of work? My point is to stop complaining about things that were present on your first day of work that “you” applied for and were happy to get. Just because the honeymoon is over doesn’t mean you get to have a different wife.
12:05 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:
@retiredbs, your first few points are valid, but as far as complaining, all i am doing is explaining some of the conditions we deal with. Alot has changed since i started, some good and some bad, but i go to work everyday, sick, tired and hurting and i do my job with pride, along with all the guys on my crew, all we are striving for is to have decent working conditions. im sure when you were working you had complaints about your job as well because no job is perfect, unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.
12:14 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
GoUnion said:
@retiredbs...maybe you don't get a new wife, but sometimes a separation is in order to rekindle your love for each other.....
12:19 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
Standbymyman said:
Well Kona sound like to me, you have the security of a nice management job.. So you wouldn't be concerned with the hard working gratefully employed workers plight.. Some time walking off takes more guts and hard work, then staying and laying down.
12:28 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
Kona said:

No that is not the case. My employment was as physically and mentally demanding as probably any job available. Never came home clean. Never considered walking off the job. Always used the strategy that, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going (as in working harder)".
01:08 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
NimbWhitIB said:

Are you saying that if I will pay you x amount + benefits to move a pile of bricks from here to there for the length of our contract,Then when that contract expires. I ask you to do the same for the same pay plus pay more for those benefits, All while I have made millions of dollars in profit! You would just suck it up and push forward????

I'm not sure I am clear on this!
01:16 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
Standbymyman said:
The tough do get going and they fight for their what is right as well..They get hurt on the job denied benefits and go back to work without being healed and work their butts off for self pride in their jobs and work, without thanks or appreciation what so ever... it is that self pride that pushes them forward and keeps them going..The thought of "walking off" or "striking" as being weak is an unbelievable statement. This probably the hardest choice these people have to make..They know it is not going to feed their families, walking a picket line or pay their mortgage either. You can bet it rips them apart and they will have to really work their butts off trying to hold on to everything they have worked for, while trying to make a difference and stand up for what is right.
01:17 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:

Dont forget to add to the fact that the cost of just living, not living beyond your means, but just living is increasing at the same time so the dollar you earn buys less and less every year, month or even day as is the case with fuel and some food items.
01:30 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
Kona said:


You asked, "You would just suck it up and push forward???".

It is a personal choice. If I wanted/needed a job, yes I would "suck it up and push forward". There are millions of people who have had to make that choice. Many (perhaps most) have "sucked it up" and were/are thankful they have a job.

I have tried to find information about the "millions in profit" Cascade Rolling Mills has made in the last couple of years. You must have information, could you tell me where I can find it?
01:49 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
NimbWhitIB said:
I am not interested in a back and forth debate on the issue. I was simply stating a question.
But........Can you provide information that they have not profited?
01:52 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
GoUnion said:
Obviously suck it up and sucking up are both in your vocabulary....sometimes you have to grow a pair and stand up for what you believe in.....make a stand, don't get pushed around by the very large corporation just because they're bigger than us.....they still need our workers to continue fattening their pockets with bonuses and stock options that are pennies on the dollar!
01:56 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:
just google schnitzer quarterly reports and read them, steel manufacturing portion. and if they didnt meet the initial threshold for profit sharing, why did we receive profit sharing three out of four quarters last year? and i am looking at pay stubs as my proof. not a website or union posting. im pretty sure that a paystub would be suitable proof would it not?
02:55 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
Kathleen Blair said:
As a Capitalist, I've never liked the idea of Unions, and yet, I've seen by the bad, un-Patriotic, un-American, un-neighborly, sociopathic behaviour of the vast majority of Cascade-sized and larger corporations over the last 20 years, *why* Unions became necessary and *remain* necessary. When we Capitalists stop killing the geese who keep trying to lay our Golden Eggs for us, we'll all be better off.

This Cascade Steel plant is 30% of Schnitzer's bottom line. 30%. The annual report will give you that info and you can get a copy of it. They made $6 million in profits - just from this one plant alone. Six. Million. Dollars.

Further, the Union, because they WANTED to HELP Cascade weather this current Great Depression, gave - *GAVE* - Cascade a *VOLUNTARY* 1 year grace period by forgoing their contractually required 3% COLI. These steelworkers have, are, and will continue to help Cascade Steel. Each steelworker job in McMinnville supports *SIX* other jobs in this town. Six. That's a lot of economic good-neighborliness on the part of the Union and the steelworkers.

If I were a betting woman, I'd bet on there being some really diabolical dirty work at the Schnitzer corporate cross-roads for them to be treating this Union this badly. That kind of stuff always comes out eventually and when it does, stock prices tend to suffer. This is what I mean by Capitalists trying to kill the geese who lay our Golden Eggs for us. It's sociopathic behaviour.

In the meantime, Schnitzer stock is at $38 and change as of last Sunday. Maybe it's time for each steelworker and each of their family members and friends, to buy one share - that gets each of them into the annual shareholders meetings.

I think I can come up with that kinda cash. Now, where'd I put that piggy-bank......
04:04 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
JustTheFacts said:
As a publicly traded company, Schnitzer has to produce a public report quarterly. The Schnitzer Quarterly Reports are available in multiple places online. I found this one at:

In it, I found the following:
Cascade Steel Profit for fiscal 2010 was -2.035 (negative)
Cascade Steel Profit for fiscal 2011 is 1.218 million to date

Also, while Cascade Steel is 1 of the 3 main businesses in Schnitzer, it produces less than 10% of Schnitzer's total revenue and so far less than 5% of Schnitzers profit.

The impact of Cascade Steel is far too important to this community to post unsubstantiated information. Too many lives at the mill and in the community in general are at stake for misinformation.
04:54 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:
@JustTheFacts, all of this is also found on the Schnitzer Steel web site. just go to their web site and click on news releases and pick the one you want. Also there is a first quarter report for 12 and prelim report for the second quarter of 12. The full second quarter report is actually set to be released tomorrow. Fiscal 11 has been closed for several months now. if you compare 1st q from 11 to the one for 12 it shows improvement.
05:42 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
JustTheFacts said:

I went the Schnitzers site. I do see the business improvement quarter over quarter for Cascade Steel. It appears they lost 2 million in the 1st quarter of fiscal 2011 and made a 1 million profit in 1st quarter of 2012.

So to be clear and factual, they did not make profits of 6 or 9 million dollars last year (or any time in the past 4 years).

They are not 30% of Schnitzers profit.

All of these were statements made to support the Unions position, but are not based on fact and make the arguments for the union look dishonest. As I said before, this is about the community...not just the Union workers. If Cascade Steel were to close down, the entire community will be devastated.

05:59 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
angela.flood said:
I'm not up on all the union responsibilities, and I work in the private sector. So, I'm wondering after seeing all the working conditions explained here - doesn't OSHA do onsite inspections there or do they assume because there is a union, the workers have a safety system in place? Also, what is the cost to Schnitzer to have to maintain the union system? It also seems that communication between the company and the employees relies mainly on the union reps, instead of a system of the company talking directly to the employees they pay. I've seen what happens in the public sector when unions are allowed to maintain so much control (including employees that should not be allowed to continue employment being allowed because of the union protection) and I wonder if it is the same in a private company union environment. I also wonder how much more respected employees would feel if someone were having a face to face conversation about sacrifices with the people responsible for making the decisions instead of being handed a piece of paper. Not all private sector, non union jobs are minimum wage. Some folks are actually lucky enough to work for someone who respects them. Maybe that is the bigger issue - the people who are in charge of making the decisions - including the union reps - aren't respecting those being impacted. Just a thought.
06:09 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:
@ facts, you are only looking at quarter over quarter and not at the whole fiscal 11 statement. you also need to look at the whole year. in the report it lists the last five quarters and yes, the first is always a little lower due to the fact that is sept thru nov. and is a slow ordering time for the industry.but the three quarters in between show improvement over the one before it. and some of your comments are sounding like they are corporate based. i may be off on the exact total but they are showing a profit in the last five quarters.
and yes this affects the whole community. but if your living expenses were rising and your wages were not, due to your boss raising benifit costs how long do you think it will be before houses go to the banks again, and people go bankrupt and have no money, either way its the same effect.
if you made $100, paid ten for insurance and used the rest to live on, then your insurance doubled and other living expenses went up but your wages stayed the same, who does that affect? everyone. all we are asking for is a fair cola. when the cost to produce something goes up the manufacturer passes that on to consumers. just look at the price per ton on finished products on the same report. and i didnt say they were 30% of their profit.
06:30 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:
@angela, yes, OSHA does inspections, and there is a joint safety committee, but how do you deal with what is known as hazards of the business? cant to anything about the weather, the heat of the product and the like, that is why we make more than minimum wage. the workers pay union dues and the company does not pay for the union. the company does a quarterly report with the president. any member that is paying dues is due fair and equal protections from the union against charges by the company. how would you feel if your boss was claiming poverty for the company, got a bonus that was large enough to buy a new car and send it out of town to be upgraded? thats the kind of stuff we get out there. in 09 we sacrificed by working two weeks and being laid off for two weeks so everyone could keep benifits, in 10 we offered to delay our cost of living raise for a year and extend the contract a year and upper management got bonuses for that too. i know the committee that is talking with the company and they are not asking for the stars, but they dont want to bring us back a contract that costs us in the long run.and those on the committee are regular workers not paid "union Reps".
07:13 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
angela.flood said:
just me: there is no cost to the company at all to have a union there? Has management ever put together an employee meeting with the impacted people or are the reps always the mouthpiece? What if you had those union dues in your pocket instead of them being used as lobbying funds for goals that have nothing to do with your employment? As far as bosses getting bonuses, that, again, is a respect issue. If someone runs a company and is okay with living high while the employees are getting food boxes, that says volumes. There is a difference between being paid to run a successful business and just being greedy. Thank you for explaining the OSHA inspection - I really didn't know. I grew up in a union family, with most members involved the shop stewards at their respective employment. But, I also think there was a place for unions at one time and wonder if the union commitment to the employees is what it should be with those paying the price being used as weapons for a power struggle. Maybe that time has passed given that there are laws to protect people now. I think about Greyhound - that was a strike that didn't go very well. But, here's my big thought - I think union negotiations with management should be an open meeting with all who are interested in attending. If they will only meet in secrecy, then I think they are only serving themselves because they can tell you whatever they want. Transparency is an over used word. Availability for you to attend these meetings would put sunlight on the facts and then no one is left wondering what the truth really is.
07:14 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
Kathleen Blair said:
Cascade us indeed 30% of the Schnitzer bottom-line. Parent company Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Q2 Earnings Conference Call is scheduled for tomorrow and there's a webcast to go with it. It will be interesting to see what they report this time.

The stock price is up a point, their leverage ratio is only 23%, and the PE Ratio of 44.78, shows strong investor confidence.

Their annual report for 2011 shows total revenues $3.4 billion, net income was $118 million, and 1 yr growth 2010 - 2011 of almost 100% in terms of income. Schnitzer acknowledged in April 2011 that they believe in Climate Change and expect it to affect operations.

The Q1 2012 levels also indicate payments for taxes and year-end bonuses. What did the they spend on Cascade Exec level bonuses? They expected operating income per ferrous ton to almost double 1Q12.

Schnitzer/Cascade are sitting very prettily.

They may decide what is best for business - behaving properly and renumerating their Union employees with a generous contract, or, they may attempt union busting/undermining and screw the local economy and many non-steel jobs in McMinnville. Actions speak louder than words.
07:25 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
bottom line said:
Standbymyman....I appreciate your kind words and the fact that you too are proud of your man and the sacrifices they make!
07:26 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
just me said:
@angela, everyone out there that is in the union is represented by elected officers and greivance reps from our own ranks. the company would not be able to negotiate with over 300 individuals so thats why the committee is in place and its a differant one every contract. as far as dues in our pockets, we are affiliated with and international union that does lobby on our behalf for safety and other things at the federal level. as far as unions protecting and being over rated, they do protect people from being fired just for a look or even less. as far as laws go they are geared for the companies and not the individual. open negotiations would be great in this instance as we have traditionally had, but it was the company negotiator is the one who did not want them open for the body to view. if we would have insisted, they could have just walked away. i hope this cleared things up for you.
07:51 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
NimbWhitIB said:
just me is 100% correct. The company side closed negotiations not the union. In a perfect world the negotiations would be web cast, Then here would be no mud to be slung!

11:41 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
oregoniansrun4fun said:
It's easy for people to say oh there are lots of people who would love to have that high paying job, and it's easy for people to say they are striking unnecessarily. They may have a higher paying job, but there are many reasons for that. They work around chemicals, come home with burns on a regular basis, and were even working around cancer causing chromium for years without respirators before they knew how dangerous it was. Imagine mowing your lawn in the middle of the hot summer and then imagine working in a hot place like that every day. My dad has worked there for nearly 30 years, and has come home with burns on a regular basis. They have a union to protect their rights, and to fight for what the workers deserve.
07:42 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Kona said:
Cascade (Schnitzer's Steel Manufacturing business) had a loss in the last quarter of $868,000 which was better than their loss of $2,746,000 in the one year ago quarter.

Cascade Steel is a relatively very small part (less than 10 percent) of Schnitzer Steel.
08:13 am - Thu, April 5 2012
DM said:
100 years ago unions were necessary in the workplace. Not so much anymore. There are so many federal/state/local laws in place all the union really does is negotiate wages, agree on a few work rules and line the pockets of the union leaders with union dues. If the job is so unsafe as many are saying simply call OR-OSHA and they'll be happy to come in for an inspection. If the job is so horrible as others are implying, nobody is forcing you to punch that timeclock everyday.
08:29 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Obie said:
As Kona said - Cascade Steel posted another quarter of losses...I would guess if the union continues to push then the Schnitzers would just assume close the plant. What is that saying about the Golden Goose?
08:54 am - Thu, April 5 2012
DM said:
Kathleen, Where are you getting your information? You said "The stock price is up a point, their leverage ratio is only 23%, and the PE Ratio of 44.78, shows strong investor confidence." However I'm seeing a P/E Ratio of 10.12 and the stock is currently at $38 and change with the 52 week high being 66. Doesn't quite sound like there's as much investor confidence as you say. Today's report also shows a quarterly loss. Am I missing something?

09:02 am - Thu, April 5 2012
just me said:
if you would have listened to the earnings call, you would have heard them report that steel manufacturing was flat and part of it was due to december maintinance down time. also, there have been a couple lengthy mechanical breakdowns that have cost us production time because of what is known as "lean manufacturing". they dont keep parts in the store room to replace everything and it costs money to overnight ship parts from anywhere. schnitzer has also been doing capital improvements in different areas of the mill so that would also drop profits. we are also one of few companies that purchase our raw material from our parent company and can not negotiate the prices so if someone were to really dig into the books i feel they would find other money being hidden in this manner. so with improvements in some equipment, new equipment, maintinance, and mechanical breakdowns, it would show a loss. if you look at the manufacturing numbers, price per finished ton was up as well as amount of finished product was also up. so it is not the unions fault for the loss.
09:08 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Michael Tubbs Sr said:
Who knows, maybe Schnitzers will consider selling out to the Union, the Union could sell shares to it's members so that everyone may..or..may not live happily ever after.

Would that work for you, Kathleen Blair?
09:23 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Manup said:
I do not know what the average employee makes at the steel mill, but I have heard it is quite desirable for the area. I know my husbands work has laid off so many employees, once a bustling place to work is now a very fearful one. Christmas time sees a layoff every year, but just short enough that one can not collect unemployment, thus flat losing money at the holiday. His regular work weeks never have a set schedule leaving us always wondering what hours he will work and making any type of normal schedule near impossible. (Try scheduling appointments around such chaos!) He has not seen an increase in his wage since he started over three years ago, yet his benefits have continued to cost us more and more out of pocket. A simple doctors visit is now 30$ out of pocket and $60 for a "specialist" PLUS whatever insurance doesn't cover- and prescriptions? Forget about it. Of course, he also pays for this insurance weekly. We can't afford our bills AND for me to be insured, so I do without, YET, we are thankful everyday he has a job. He would never do anything to jeopardize that, thus making us wonder why anyone strikes when they are being paid higher then most others in the area, have benefits to accompany their job, and are union protected in case of a layoff.

He has often mentioned wanting to work at the steel mill, but the layoffs that we have heard about over the years terrifies us. He just wants to go to work, put his time in, do a good job, and come home at the end of the day- no worries about layoffs, no worries about unannounced schedules, be able to take a vacation day when requested without being told to come in for at least a few hours, have an actual 15 minute break after two hours, and provide for his family. Is that so much to ask?

09:51 am - Thu, April 5 2012
just me said:
all i can say is there is no true average, we have so many job positions with different pay rates. we also work a rotating type shift, 12 hours on and 12 off, 4 days on and four days off. so i understand the not being able to plan anything. i do happen to be one of the lucky ones that hasnt had to go to a doctor in years so i dont know what we do have to pay. i dont have the luxury of having a spouse that works or stays home with kids to help out. im a single father of two teenagers that has to work extra days just to get by so that in turn takes away from my kids. as far as vacation time goes and layoffs, we go thru layoffs in the winter time and they set it up so we cant draw unemployment as well so we have to use our vacation when they say we can just to keep our benifits. i am happy to have a good job, and i do it with pride everyday i go in. when i do mention the conditions, im simply stating facts, not complaining or whining. it is the seniority that the union negotiated in previous contracts that protects us during layoffs. the more you have means a better chance of getting to keep working. in the time i have been there, i have seen our insurance go from free, to pay 10% and now they want us to pay 20%, that equates doubling what we pay, boots we have to have have gone up in price considerably, food, fuel and household expenses. our retirement was cut by 66% so now we will have to work longer before we retire.
04:52 pm - Thu, April 5 2012
judgenot said:
To those who feel the union employees are well compensated already, I have this to say; yes, we do receive descent middle class family wages and benefits, but there is a reason for this. There is a 40 plus year legacy at Cascade Steel of union employees pushing, struggling, and fighting for better wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions. Now the company wants to cut virtually ALL benefits across the board. It is true Cascade is not asking for a pay cut, BUT wants a wage freeze. But in my mind it is a pay cut. Due to the constantly rising cost of living, by the end of the 4 or 5 year contract, it WILL be a pay cut. To Steve Bagwell, editor at the News Register: There is a reason the company has not divulged specifics. Cascade does not like negative publicity and they would probably not like the public to know how they have acted during these negotiations. It is my opinion this is another example of corporate greed, the rich getting richer and pushing the middle class into the working poor. Sometimes people need to fight to get what is fair.
09:05 pm - Fri, April 6 2012
skull crusher said:
I would catch a grenade for you!
09:36 pm - Sat, April 7 2012
Myhusbandworkshard said:
My husband has worked at Cascade Rolling Mill now for 7 years, he comes home with bruises, back aches, awful burns, extremely sore hands, feet, covered in grease, scale and either soaked in water from cleaning it or sweat from working on it. He works 12-13 hour shifts and risks his life so that Schnitzer gets their buck. From what I hear a few of the "head haunches" out there makes a pretty penny, are they taking a pay cut? Are they getting their "cost of living raises" taken away? Do they have to pay more for insurance? An insurance that isn't all that great to begin with? Now they are wanting us to pay more for said insurance? To those who are saying we should be great ful for our insurance, I know another mill that has insurance that trumps US Benefits. We have lost our profit sharing checks which we relied on heavily, those were cut after the big lay off. We may get them but its not consistant enough to rely on nor enough to be sure they will cover the bills, that was 1/6th of the yearly income removed by that being cut. Now they are talking of cutting production bonus? What else can they take away and say its still "fair"?? We have a three year old and a four month old and it terrifies me that they may go on strike. I am a stay at home mom who is just starting school and we need this job. From what I am reading a lot of people are under the impression that the union workers are being unfair and asking for too much.. Well unless you know the whole story there is no place to judge what these men and women have to go through. They work so hard and don't make nearly enough. I know this economy has been awful but from what I have heard Cascade has made quite a profit last year, even with the economy in shambles. Interesting right? So where do we draw the line? Do we let them walk all over them because they realize we need an income? Or do we stand up for the little we do get? What would you do?
09:44 pm - Sat, April 7 2012
Myhusbandworkshard said:
Standbymyman and bottomline, I totally understand!
05:04 am - Sun, April 8 2012
Michael Tubbs Sr said:

No doubt that in this economy there would be a great many that would seek employment, anywhere they can find it. I my self once took a job breaking rocks with a 12 lb sledgehammer until I could find something that paid better. But I don't believe that having a high employee turnover would serve/benefit Cascade Rolling Mill very well at all.

Right off the top of the head (no pun intended) the 'workmen comp' carrier rate alone (I would imagine) be raised substantially. Would you agree?
05:28 pm - Mon, April 9 2012
NWGuy1970 said:

The Schnitzer's aren't going to close the mill anytime soon. Nobody else is going to pay the premium price Cascade Steel does for the garbage scrap Schnitzer is able to unload on us (benefits of owning a steel mill).

If they really wanted to cut costs how about slashing the CEO's of Cascade and Schnitzers wages. Which are about $10,000.00 and $25,000.00 a day! That would certainly cover the supposed last quarter losses.

This is corporate greed at its best, plain and simple.
11:05 am - Tue, April 10 2012
ronpaul2012 said:
With a sound economy, where our dollar is backed by gold..I'm sure we wouldn't have issues where people get laid off, or worked long hours..

The FED has created the largest debt in world history. They were created in 1913, 1933-1935 Gold Bullion was confiscated and made illegal.
The FED Creates money out of thin air creating inflation. The more printed, The lower our dollar is worth, meaning more Dollars required to purchase items sold in our everyday lives. Gas, Food, Clothing, prescription drugs, energy and much more.

Planned Inflation is now draining our bank accounts, and our fridge!

Ron Paul, Is the ONLY candidate running for office that will return America to constitutional government that made us the greatest nation in human history.

Other candidates propose we continue to drift afar from our founding principles. This "drift" put us in our current crisis. Ron Paul predicted this many years ago, And has the Solution.

Ron Paul is also a physician delivered over 4000 babies, repeal Obamacare, cut 1$ TRILLION in year 1, balance budget by year 3.
Others suggest we cut Trillions in proposed spending.

Too much to mention about this great man. His message is for every person who wants freedom and liberty, without the expense of taking our rights away!

"There are only two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by sword, the other is by debt"
-John Adams Ron Paul 2012
10:11 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Colins monny said:
Manup- The lowest man on the totem pole makes $18/hr after probation. They start probation at $11 or $12/hr.

I know about half of the residents of this area would love to have that bring home wage. Yes I think most of the union workers are being selfish and ridiculous.

Do you know that there are quite of few employees out there that have been stock piling there vacation time for when they retire? Upon retirement the company will have to cut them a check for upwards of $30,000. Seriously? Just asking for what they deserve? Sleeping on the job, coming to work high/drunk...You deserve to not have a job.

You should be grateful for every single thing you have. If you can't survive on $50,000 a year, you should ask someone that does it on $20,000 a year and see how they do it. They are people that make it work. What are you willing to sacrifice? Do you NEED it or want it?

Do you have heat and a roof in the winter? Do you have health coverage if your family falls ill? So you have hot water for showers?

Count your blessings for you have many.
01:51 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
Blah Blah Blah said:
i have been on both sides of things - i used to be an employer, granted not as large as cascade but still, my employees demanded more because they thought i was making lots of money and a rate increase and less contribution for benefits wouldn't cost me much, but it adds up, it really really does - the cost of doing business is a lot more than what people might think and even if you think oh, it's not that much for a company to absorb, it actually might be when you add it up to everything else - wages, benefits and other compensation, taxes, worker's comp, other insurances, and the list goes on and on, if a company is loosing money, employees have to be patient and know that if they work for a good company, when things get right again, they will be compensated for their loyalty, understanding and patience. I would really hate to see the mill close and have so many people from our community be out of a job, it's not just the company that needs to be fair in the negotiations, it is the workers and union's responsibility as well.
08:06 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
just me said:
blah, in these times the "loyalty" has died, and it goes both ways, correct me if im wrong, a company's goal is to make money for the owners and shareholders, a worker's goal is to make money for him/herself and their family. neither one of them has control over the costs of material, or transportation. the company tries to lower their expenses by controling the cost of labor. workers have no control over the first two but when the company want to freeze pay and raise other costs, how is that fair to the people that are shedding their sweat and effort to produce for them? so now said worker has to choose what bills to pay because the company has decided save money on the workers backs? like i said, two years ago we gave up our 3.5% raise for an extension on the contract and now the offers are not a reward for loyalty, they are a kick to the balls to all of us. when i started, insurance was part of the benifits package for free, now im having to pay for them and they want to double that so that would be just like taking a paycut. i have said this repeatedly, we just want a fair contract that doesnt go backwards.
07:00 am - Thu, April 12 2012
Being Realistic said:
just like employees can't choose what bills to pay and which not to pay, companies can't do that either

you are probably not hearing about the smaller companies that are eliminating jobs compltely, reducing wages, increasing benefits contributions, etc. etc. just because the employees aren't on strike but it's just something that so many people are dealing with that for those of us who are seeing what is going on beyond the steel mill are thinking "ok....what makes you so different?" why is it that it is ok for other employers to do this and other workers to have to put up with it because times are hard, but you think you are beyond that? i wish things were better for EVERYONE not just the steel mill workers, but unfortunatley it's just that, a wish.
07:16 am - Thu, April 12 2012
op91 said:
colins monny-
you talk like you believe you have first hand knowledge of how the mill operates. But your suppositions are dead wrong. the mill has a standard drug and alcohol screening policy and a random screening policy to back that up.
Also the lowest wage is not $18.00 an hour, if you get hurt and have to do a lite duty job ie janitor for the rest of your time then your wage can go down to $11.00 and change. That is not to say that the normal wages are not good. That is one thing we would like to see remain. Also the company does not just cut you a check at the end of your working time for vacation, they will make you take it and then you can retire once its used up. Know your facts before you spout rhetoric. The truth is all we need to discuss.
04:50 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
Kathleen Blair said:
What the News Register is not reporting: from

"A striking worker at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills was treated at Providence Newberg Medical Center today after a car driven by a security guard bumped him on the picket line. The incident occurred about 5 a.m. this morning at the west entrance to the employee parking lot outside Cascade Steel Rolling Mills in McMinnville. "�He put his bumper right up against my leg and then he hit the gas,� mill shop worker Lee Frakes said. Picketers called police, who took statements from witnesses, and cited the driver for failure to yield to a pedestrian � a traffic infraction. After the incident, Frakes said he tried to continue walking the picket line, but started to experience pain and numbness in his lower right leg. �It�s just really bad timing,� Frakes said. Frakes, 36, says his wife is due to give birth any day to their third child, and he can�t drive with his leg immobilized. Frakes says he�s disturbed by the incident, and says managers and non-union employees at the mill have been getting more aggressive in recent days. �I watched a guy almost get hit [by a manager�s car] the other day. He came in super fast, and if the guy did not jump out of the way, he would have been hit.�
05:09 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
Kona said:

The same kind of an incident happened years back when the teachers were striking and one of the teachers jumped in front of a school bus and got hit. You would think these people would picket off from the roadway where the cars are driving. Wouldn't be the first time that union picketers tried to stop people from getting to their job by blocking a roadway.
06:30 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
just me said:
kona, the difference here is he didnt "throw himself in front of anyone" he was walking the picket line and the guard did not let him get clear. last time i looked, in oregon, the pedestrian has the right of way as long as they are not just stopped blocking traffic. we have instructed our picketers that they need to keep moving when picketing the gates. you comment of comparing us to other union picketers is a little silly because you have no knowledge of the whole incident.
07:17 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
Kona said:
Tell me what happened then. Was the person picketing standing/walking where vehicles travel? If "yes", why would they stand/walk where vehicles travel? That is like telling your kids to go play in the freeway to see what happens.
07:56 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
Kona said:
Whatever happened, the driver should not have intentionally driven into anyone. No excuse for that.
08:19 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
op91 said:
do you know what a picket line is and the purpose behind it?
I have talked to the police and as long as we obey the law we retain our rights as pedestrians. It is an unfortunate thing that happened but if you will put aside your apathy toward our plight and research the facts of what is truly happening here I am sure that you will see that we are not villains but ordinary people just like you trying our best to make a living and support our community. regardless of how you view us, I thank you for showing genuine interest on this and may God bless you.
08:52 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
Kona said:
Is this accurate? These are instructions from the union I belonged (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers). Probably everyone is following similar instructions.

1. Do not interfere with access to the picketed facility or with use of sidewalks or roadways.
2. Do not threaten or engage in violence or use abusive language.
3. Under no circumstances should any of the following be allowed on the line or in the vicinity of
the line:
a. Firearms or any other type weapon
b. Alcoholic beverages, drugs, or persons noticeably under the influence
Picket captains should ask police officers to identify themselves.
Call the Union to report incidents involving police and collect names and written statements
from witnesses.
5. If someone asks or orders you to leave a location:
a. Take their name and the name of their employer.
b. Ask their source of authority.
c. Contact the Union immediately so that unfair labor practice charges may be filed.
d. Get names, addresses, phone numbers and written statements from witnesses.
Do not engage in violence or resist arrest.
09:36 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
just me said:
kona, our rules are pretty much the same, maybe some wording is different, but very close. with the exception of number one, we are allowed to walk in front of a means of access such as a driveway, the intent is to slow traffic, not totally stop it. all the driver has to do is wait the ten or fifteen seconds and there will be a clearing in their path of travel for them to proceed. as is the case of schnitzers main offices in portland, we picket on the sidewalk in front of the building so we are not on their property and we do not block their driveway at that location due to the fact of the speed of traffic on yeon ave. the last thing we want is to cause an accident. as long as we allow the public access to pass on the sidewalk we are within our rights as picketers.
08:14 am - Fri, April 13 2012
Manup said:
No matter which way you slice it, those who have the job will complain about it, and those who don't have a job or make very little to support their family will be happy to take the job you complain about. People who work in a show store will always complain their back hurts, people who work as an industrial painter will always complain about fumes, air quality, low pay,and being covered in paint, and those who work in hot areas will always complain about heat.
We all want to be self supporting,but most of us depend ona company to employ us. Once employed, we all complain that the head hauncho makes more than we do- duh, he is the head hauncho! We all complain that we actually have to pay for some of our insurance... Try living with no insurance for the last 7 years, than we can talk. We all complain about our retirement plans, yet many can't even afford the small weekly contribution because they need every last cent to make ends meet.

It is the grass is greener on the other side syndrome, we all have it, just remember for every job that someone turns down, walks away from,or pickets, there is someone else praying to be able to feed their children tomorrow, regardless of how difficult a job may be.
10:01 am - Fri, April 13 2012
DM said:
Manup, very well put. The union folk might get more sympathy if they spent less time complaining about how bad the working conditions are and quit demonizing the management of the company. Negotiations are give and take on both sides yet all we're hearing is how horrible the company is. I'm sure it's a pretty good place to work. Here's hoping the contract gets settled sooner rather than later.

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