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Steel talks remain at standstill

Apr 18, 2012 | 54 Comments

By Molly Walker
Of the News-Register

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04:17 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Hammer said:
The first sentence of this article says that talks have been recessed at the direction of a federal mediator. Now as you read further into the article it almost feeels like the company or maybe the author of the article is blaming the union for not wanting to meet for two days. It also says that union members are losing an average of $357 a day. If you break that down that is $44.62 an hour for an eight hour shift or $29.75 an hour for a twelve hour shift. Those numbers are not correct at all. I have worked at Cascade for over 15 years and know for a fact no union emplyee makes anywhere near 44 dollars an hour, and I cant speak for all departments in the mill but where I work nobody makes 29 dollars an hour either. I am sure it is an honest mathmatical mistake by the company to release those numbers.

I would like to thank all the kind members of McMinnville for all your support and many gifts. Thank you to the lady for the doughnuts this morning and all those that have brought burritos, pizzas, burgers, coffee and much much more.

Lastly to all the union members reading this, and I know most of you are, I am proud of our solidarity, just hang in there, and give our union rep, president and negotiating commettee the trust they deserve.
04:38 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Kona said:

They are probably including benefits in that number ($357), as they should. Hasn't the health insurance alone been discussed at about $16,000 per year? Plus Social Security. Do you get any paid vacation, or paid holidays?
05:30 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Hammer said:
I have not seen the $16,000 per year in health ins., I probably missed the comment where someone posted that number unless you have some inside info Kona. It seems to me that you must have some vested interest in our contract. I am thankful to those who support us and respect the opinion and comments of all that are interested in our fight but your comments always seemed to be swayed twords the side of the company. Do you have family that works there? And to answer your question, we used to have paid vacation and holidays but when our contract expired April 1, we have non of that. We had health insurance as of April 1, and have decieded to fight to keep what we had. If the company ever offers us a contract to vote on we will find out if we retain those benefits that our past union members have fought for the past 40 years.

06:17 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
op91 said:
Wow Molly, thank you for the uplifting article about the current situation. unfortunately I would have to question your facts. It was the mediator that called for both delays in negotiations, the Union has been will to meet with the company whenever they wanted. Please remember while we are on strike the people negotiating for us are not getting paid so it is in their best interests to bargain. Secondly the ball has been in the companies court from the get go. if they would just bargain in good faith this contract would have been settled long ago. Now if I am incorrect then to the company i say this, open the negotiations to any union member that wants to listen in and we will be able to see who is stalling and who is being fair. I have faith in the men bargaining on my behalf and i trust that they want the same things I do and that's to get back to making steel.
06:21 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Hacksaw said:

Help me understand the reasons for blocking or slowing traffic access to the mill. I have often wondered how this strategy helped in the negotiation process? I would understand if replacement workers were brought in, but that isn't the case here..the guy that was cited was security and isn't even an employee of the mill (according to the paper).I think most people view the road blocking actions as petty and at least for now the pickets would get more public support by taking the high road rather than looking to add to the litigation.
06:41 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
op91 said:
To the union members hit intentionally while on picket duty, our prayers are with you and your families and we hope for a speedy recovery. I have seen a great many wondrous things while walking the line. This community is fantastic and the support we have received has given us the courage to carry on in our quest for a fair deal from Cascade Steel. We really do love our jobs and look forward to getting back to work just as soon as possible. Hopefully the companies hearts are softened and they will come to negotiations with real intent on getting us back to work and again putting our hard earned dollars back into the community we live in.
Thanks and God Bless
07:14 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Mack said:
Isn't their a law in Oregon that basically says an employee can quit their job at anytime for without even giving a reason and an employer can terminate an employee at anytime without giving a reason?
If so, why don't the disgruntled steel workers quit and go to work at a better place? Why doesn't the Mill just terminate the strikers and hire people that want to work under the current conditions?
Isn't this the good 'ol USA? Don't we still have liberty and freedom?
I really don't understand this whole union thing.
07:21 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Mack said:
And further more, why are the people of McMinnville feeding these strikers so much garbage? Trying to fatten 'em up? Trying to clog their arteries? How fair is that? I mean come on, they have enough stress in their life being on strike and all and now you're going to feed them that??
I'm hoping to eventually read "Thanks for the heads of broccoli, bags of carrots and loves of whole wheat bread people have been dropping off".
07:24 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Mack said:
One last thing and then I promise to stop. Quit yelling at me when I drive by. It's unsettling and doesn't strengthen your case. Not to mention I can't even tell what the hell it is you're even yelling.
07:42 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Hammer said:

There has been absolutely no blocking of traffic, but you are correct in saying slowing of traffic into and out of the mill. It is called a picket line for a reason, we walk in a line around access points to the mill, all in a completely legal manor. When any vehicle wants to pass through a cross walk the pedestrian always has the right of way to finish their path across. It may seem petty to some to walk in a leisurely manure across the intersection that may slow traffic for a few seconds but we are just exercising our civil rights. There have been several truck drivers cited for failure to yeild but to my knowledge no picketers have been even talked to by the police for doing anything wrong. We have no idea the impact this will have on negotiating but I doubt the company cares much that a few trucks have had to wait 30 extra seconds to get out of the driveway. Thank you for your input and I will give it some additional thought.
08:26 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
op91 said:
Mack- You answered your first question yourself quite well.
you said(I really don't understand this whole union thing)
2) Why are you so concerned about what other people give to us on the line, they are trying to help in any way they can and we are VERY thankful for their generosity
3) we are probably not yelling at you . We are more likely yelling thank you to the many folks that honk and wave in support of our strike.

If we have offended or upset you, I apologize. We are just trying to use the only option left to us to get our company to bargain fairly at the negotiation table. But this may not help you since you don't understand the whole union thing.
Peace and God Bless.
08:46 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Kona said:

What is "bargain fairly at the negotiation table"? Is it compromising halfway? Is it giving in to union demands? Is it giving in to Cascade demands? It seems like a very loose term that has no meaning, but always used. What exactly does "bargain fairly at the negotiation table" mean? What is Cascade doing at the bargaining table that is unfair?
10:10 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
op91 said:
Ah Kona- you have asked this question and it has been answered many times for you. Why pray tell do you keep asking the same thing over and over? I think your smart enough to figure out what the words mean and if your unsure look them up in the dictionary. I think its humorous that we keep going in a circle on this. Anyway I know that you will find the answer you want one way or another, Peace
01:04 am - Thu, April 19 2012
Ish said:
I've read a lot of the comments on a lot of these articles. I'm hoping putting in my $.02 will help answer some questions for people confused about how Union's work, why they are good (and bad) and what going on strike means (in this instance) and why some of the solutions offered might not be the most viable.

Warning, this is gonna take a few comments, hang in there with me please.

In the interest of full disclosure: I am the daughter of a Cascade Steel Worker who is currently on strike.

First - A Union is an entity designed to unite workers under a common flag and goal, to protect each of their rights within the company. In this instance the rights that the Union workers would most likely wish to secure are proportionate health benefits in accordance with the dangerous environment of the job, and fair and safe shift/working situations. Other benefits USW might be invested in for their members include wage security, job security and other benefit entitlements.

A bit of a clarification: The folks who work in mills, much like coal miners, carpenters, constructions workers, etc, are working in a volatile environment. Very few people would willingly work in such an environment for very long without similar compensations to those requested by USW union members in this instance. If they did chose to do so they would find out quickly why Unions such as these exist. A long time ago people figured out that, the long term health detriments working these sorts of jobs were high - as was (and sometimes is) the mortality/injury rate. Wages higher than a store clerk, office worker or truck driver can be directly correlated to the likely hood of making it to retirement without a severe increase in health problems, including but not limited to; Respitory illness, Heart & Muscle injuries, Back & Neck problems and increased stress on the body resulting in lower life expectancy.
01:04 am - Thu, April 19 2012
Ish said:
I am not insinuating that these deficiencies are greater than any other stressors on similar jobs, but that is the benefit of having a Union behind you in that, your benefits are determined as a whole with the rest of your local union. This makes sure that everyone gets treated fairly for their work and effort because the union asks as a whole - if one has a grievance, they all have a grievance, which makes treating your workers unfairly harder to do.

The problems with Unions can come from bad leadership or a lack of faith/communication between leadership and the union body. If such is the case you will find Union's at odds with themselves, and the body feeling a bit helpless to protect it's jobs, because the leadership is vying for things that will not intrinsically help the body as a whole (an odd, unlikely example would be if the negotiations stalled on a point of higher wages/benefits for the highest ranking manager on duty only, which so happened to be the Union negotiator) if such a person used their power as the contact for negotiations to get better benefits for themselves, and held everyone else hostage under strike, that would be the worst case scenario for a Union and it's members. That's a constant fear for Union members on strike - are the people negotiating my contract doing it for me, or for themselves?

In this case, communications appear to be strong between Union leadership and the body on strike. There will always be rumors and anxiety, but as long as the body has faith in it's leadership to act altruistically in there interests, the Union is doing it's job.
01:04 am - Thu, April 19 2012
Ish said:
Regarding this strike -

As has been stated before, this strike is based on UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES (emphasis intended)

According to Section 185 of the NLAR (To which the Government holds all businesses who employ and deal with Unions) one of these unfair labor practices is:
"(5) to refuse to bargain collectively with the representatives of his employees, subject to the provisions of section 159(a) of this title."

So this is where the problem lies. What the Union is saying is that, prior to April 1st there were limited or no collective bargaining efforts. Or, if there were efforts, they were ineffective. The end of the contract term came, and no effective negotiations had been happening, so the local union decided to strike (a midst some controversy with the whole whether or not they were striking to early). They will remain on strike until an agreement can be made between the Union and the Company. This agreement can be a temporary extension of the previous contract to keep people at work whilst a new contract is agreed upon, or it can just straight up be a new contract.

What appears to be going on, is that, originally, contract negotiations were either not going well, or not happening at all. A Federal representative has been brought in and negotiations have begun. It's unfortunate that even in this day and age such drastic measures need to be taken by Union chapters to get negotiations going, but especially in economically hard times it is more prudent than ever to enforce what your constituency wants. You may not be able to get everything, but that shouldn't stop them from asserting the needs of their chapter!
05:00 am - Thu, April 19 2012
judgenot said:
Just because you read it in the News Register, that does NOT make it true. Usually it is because the whole story is not written, just the part the News Register FEELS is important to report. How can you possibly know the truth unless you are sitting in on the negotiations every time they meet? I am cancelling my subscription to this one sided reporting newspaper.
06:58 am - Thu, April 19 2012
Kona said:


This is how you answered the question previously, it is a he said-she said answer. Just because the union defines the proper standard of living you should have to raise your families does not make it "unfair bargaining" if there is a disagreement on your interpretation of your standard of living. The value of your job is not defined by what you want, it is defined by your value to the company and the marketplace. This is the reason why union membership is at an all-time low as a percentage of the workforce in the United States. Unions define the wage scale as what they want without consideration of the value of their job in the marketplace. This only works when the value of what you want matches the value of your job in the marketplace. Apparently there is not a match at this time, but that does not make it "unfair bargaining".

You said,

#4 the old saying goes, it takes two to tango. if the company wants to truly negotiate then by all means that's what we want as well. but if they just want to play games and make no true strides in the resolution of this dispute then what would you have us do.

#1 a fair contract is one that insures our ability to work and raise our families, but also provides us with a standard of living and working compensatory to the work we preform. Please let me preface this. Our jobs have substantial risks inherent to the nature of the tasks we preform.
08:11 am - Thu, April 19 2012
DM said:
"That's a constant fear for Union members on strike - are the people negotiating my contract doing it for me, or for themselves?"

A very good question that I think more union members should be asking. Is the union dragging their feet to justify their existence or are they truly looking out for its members? Has anybody calculated how long the strike needs to continue that even if the union keeps the insurance contribution at 10% you'll just be breaking even over the life of the contract? Almost two weeks in has gotta be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2000 lost per employee.

09:47 am - Thu, April 19 2012
Ish said:
DM -

It's always on their minds, which is why they have elections, and why they are constantly in contact with those sitting at the negotiations table. The first people to know about a potential contract will be the men and women of the Union chapter, and the leaders of Cascade/Schnitzer. THEN the press and the general public will get whatever information can be disclosed before a final contract is published. A lot of this is kept hush hush for security/legal reasons.

Until the Steelworkers get something real to vote on, it's a struggle between the needs and wants of the company and the union.

Neither side truly earns anything from a Strike. It detriments the integrity of the company as a distribution and production service, meaning companies who contract their bids to them may go elsewhere if the strike goes on too long.

For the Company - that is incentive to speed up the process, good, well trained Union workers are beneficial in that they are a higher producing, higher quality work force than Joe Schmoe off the street (or currently the wonderful ladies in the office). The sooner they get them back on the line, the less damage to the reputation.

For the Union - that is incentive to bargain as low as understandable to their constituency. There needs to be a job for them to go back to after the Strike, so making sure that it doesn't last longer than necessary is paramount to getting a good contract and having stable jobs.

Remember that this is a tug of war many businesses that work with Unions play all the time. This is not shocking, or unusual when it comes to serious contract discussions. It was pushed back a year by mutual understanding of the economic stress, and now it's finally being hashed out, as it must be. Strike's are an important part of American history/business culture. We have the ability to leverage our usefulness and talent against profits, so we can vie for a fair shake.
10:06 am - Thu, April 19 2012
Kona said:
You said, "Remember that this is a tug of war many businesses that work with Unions play all the time."

That is a problem that is not in favor. Only 6.9 percent of the private sector workforce is now union shop, compared to over 20 percent in 1983, and more than 35 percent in the 1950s. The adversarial stance of unions has almost destroyed union membership in the U.S.
11:21 am - Thu, April 19 2012
op91 said:

Like always you seem to think that this is all about wages and I have told you over and over again that its about the bargaining process and how the company is doing that in an unfair way. I noticed that you said a proper standard of living. what is that?
you are very much against unions in your posts and you seem very concerned about a contract that has no baring on you.I previously told you to use a dictionary and look up the words Unfair , negotiation and labor. this will answer your question as to what an unfair labor practice is. I suspect however that is not your goal as you keep going back to wages.Truly what we negotiate for in the way of hourly compensation from the company we work for is really none of your concern unless you have a vested interest in the company. Now I have tried to answer your questions with truth and honesty. If you can't get past the part at which we are not talking about wages then I think this dialog truly has no where to go from here.
Peace to you and God bless
12:04 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
Kona said:
No, I am not against unions. I am disappointed that unions cling to the adversarial relationship, rather than a cooperative relationship.

You asked what is a "proper standard of living". I have no idea, but it probably varies from person to person depending on their value in the marketplace.
01:43 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
just me said:
for the person who asked if the negotiators were working for all of us or just for them, first of all, these people make money when they are at work, not at the table, second of all, all of the talk of who is lying to who here for these reports, the company has wanted these negotiations closed from the members so no one is able to verify the companies allagations that the union is dragging, but it sure seems that this paper takes what ever is said by the company as absolute truth and the union gets to be raked over the coals.
as far as what we make a day, the fact that we earn vacation has nothing to do with what we make. that is a benifit we earn with our length of service. when i started our insurance was part of our compensation package for free, since the company has started charging for it, our out of pocket cost has almost doubled but our wages sure have not kept up. and now they want to double that. if that were the case alot of the specialty shop in this community may have to close their doors due to lack of income. if the company is so worried about the cost of insurance, why dont they offer, along with the union to find another plan that isnt so expensive?
and mack, as far as quiting and going somewhere else, i live in this area and to drive to portland for the same wages, i would be going even further backwards wage wise. i have a budget to live on and its based on fuel, food and other living expenses, which are always going up. our wages no matter how everyone spins it, do not keep up with all of this. im sorry if it offends you that people wave and yell, but as i have heard them, they are saying thank you to our supporters as they wave and drive past. i have been picketing in portland at schnitzers main office the last couple weeks and yes, we wave at drivers, but for the most part we receive waves and honks of support, with the occasional thumbs down and even more rare middle finger salute. all we do is wave and smile back.
02:07 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
Iron1 said:
To the strikers at the Lafayette Ave. location, come on guys, we at Air Liquide have been more than courteous to all of you during the strike process. For you to slow our personal vehicles and work vehicles down and or try to stare us down as we drive in and out, really, that is going to get you what? Absolutely not a damn thing. We are a nonunion facility and have nothing to do with the situatuion you find yourselves in. So please show some courtesy back and move to the side and let us through "without" the stare downs. Thank you.
02:40 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
Hacksaw said:
Just me-

A couple of statements you made in your post illustrate the questions i have with the union point of view....You talk about your insurance costs increasing along with the other costs incurred in daily life. You mention the fact that your wages haven't kept up with the rising costs no matter how anyone spins it. I agree... those points are all true, not only for you but the majority of the workers in the US!

Your argument however does not consider any of the economic realities faced by the management side, most importantly how reduced demand for the product has impacted the bottom line for the company. I have made the point earlier and will again... how can a business justify an additional (substantial) outlay of dollars for increased wages and benefits when they are currently not making a profit? What are your business justifications for the company to just absorb millions of dollars in additional costs? Could you do that if you were the business owner?

The idea of searching out other less expensive health programs would seem to be an idea the the company would be interested in as it also would save them money. Profit sharing increases would also seem a viable conversation. If you agreed with the company to pay an increased percent of profits (when profits again become available) I think that would be a fair tradeoff for both parties.
03:58 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
just me said:
hacksaw, when i was hired, insurance was provided as part of my compensation, now im paying $155.25 a month, now they want to have us pay $310.50 a month for the exact same coverage. then they wanted a four year pay freeze which would amount to less money on our paychecks to pay the bills we currently have and to spend on fuel and food and other stuff in the community. we currently have the ability to make and sell products on the west coast that no one else is certified to produce as well.
as far as the millions it would cost, this company hides money by buying inferior scrap from its parent company for inflated prices so the numbers they show are not a true indication on how the numbers add up. the only way they have to control costs are thru labor costs. if you owned a business that was losing money as they have reported, would you pay upper management bonuses? i would hope not, but a few of the upper managers received bonuses in recient years. so i again ask, how would that be possible?
as far as them paying increased bonuses, they offered to tie pay increases to bonuses, but they raised the threshold to reach those bonuses to a point we would hardly ever reach them due to some of the products. and they dont keep alot of spare parts around and that contributes to down time the average worker can not control as well but it affects the ability to reach bonuses.
as you also stated, if they would shop around for a better insurance benefit that was cheaper, then their outlay would be less. my math shows they are paying $1552 a month, with our 10% included. i did some research and found even better insurance for under $900 a month. but they have declined to do any such thing.
04:20 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
op91 said:
To Iron1-
I would like to apologize for any inconvenience you and Air Liquide have experienced from our picketing. It is not our intention to cause you or Hertz Rental problems. The company has hired outside security using unmarked cars so we have to look very hard just to make sure we are safe as we have already had 2 picketers hit. I will tell all the picketers on Lafayette to show more courtesy to the businesses using that road. Again I am truly sorry. God Bless
08:06 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
retiredbs said:
@op91, you said "The company has hired outside security using unmarked cars so we have to look very hard just to make sure we are safe as we have already had 2 picketers hit". What a load of crap! Keep you butts out of the middle of the public road and you won't have to look at who is coming or going. Don't make excuses as to why you are looking at people as they drive by your picket. You and your fellow picketers are just harassing drivers and trying to make an excuse. I personally don�t care if you go back to work or not. Just don�t� make flimsy excuses on a public forum. You will get called on it every time. I've seen strikes in several states I've lived in and none of them are productive in the long run. From coal miner strikes to steel plant strikes back east, they all become personal in nature and cause deep devides in the community. Especially when you involve others, such as the Air Liquide and Hertz Rental Customers by slowing them down for your own pleasure and then saying something about having to see who is driving because it might be security in unmarked cars. Bull#l%t!
08:44 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
garr55 said:
TO retiredbs well the bs serves you well, So far from the truth i have been on the picket line and never seen any kind of SLOWING anybody down in regards to the local vendors.Now what you need to do is shut up and sit in your chair grab the remote and watch judge judy walk your dog and collect your retirement that none of us will never see at the steel mill.No body is getting rich there bucko we live from paycheck to paycheck like the rest of America, which is sad.America dream is gone AND YOU cut us down for that?
09:11 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
retiredbs said:
@ garr55, try reading the posts on this thread prior to commenting. It won't make you look so uninformed. Said by Hammer, "There has been absolutely no blocking of traffic, but you are correct in saying slowing of traffic into and out of the mill", also said by Iron1, "For you to slow our personal vehicles and work vehicles down and or try to stare us down as we drive in and out, really, that is going to get you what? Absolutely not a damn thing". So, garr55, you may meet your objective of striking your employer by simply sitting with me and watching Judge Judy. That way we both can enjoy a good show and you guys won't piss off the average Joe trying to go about their business. I'm not cutting you down, I just don't care if you win or lose this arguement. And it goes the same for management also. Some of us have our own lives to live without you interjecting your problems onto the ones we already have of our own.
09:39 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
Iron1 said:
To op91:
Thanks for your response to my earlier post on being able to drive to work without being slowed down and stared down by the picketers. We just want to be able to go to and from work without hassels of any kind. I appreciate you saying you would talk with the picketers on Lafayette Ave. Thanks again.
07:10 am - Fri, April 20 2012
op91 said:
to retiredbs-

Apologies to you. No excuses made, just explaining why things are happening the way they have. Would love to be able to sit and watch tv but we are on strike. It's a sad situation we find ourselves in that we are out on a picket line again sorry for our presents we will attempt to hide our miserable little lives so as not to upset you.
The truck exit from Lafayette has been at least temporally closed so our picket there should no longer cause you any problems. Now if Air Liquide or Hertz has any issue with us we invite them to come by and tell us what they want us to do as we will certainly respect their business. Again many thanks to all those in the community that wave and honk we appreciate the support. Also to those that stop by with food, A heart felt thanks to you. Remember we are not out there because we want to be, it's a strike because of unfair labor practices ( not because of monetary issues) we hope and pray for a fast resolution to the current situation. Thanks again and God Bless
07:23 am - Fri, April 20 2012
Iron1 said:
To op91:
You must of said something to the picketers on Lafayette Ave., they were quite polite this morning and no stare downs. That is greatly appreciated. If any other issues arise we will take advantage of your invite to stop by and discuss things. Hopefully you won't have to worry about such things for much longer. I'm confident the Mill and the Union will reach an agreement soon. Thanks again!
07:55 am - Fri, April 20 2012
Kona said:
What part of this definition is Cascade violating? What are the specific examples? It seems from all of the public information that none of these points has been violated. Does anyone have information of any violations?

Definition of "unfair labor practice"

The NLRB has the authority to investigate and remedy unfair labor practices, which are defined in Section 8 of the Act. In broad terms, the NLRA makes it unlawful for an employer to:

1) interfere with two or more employees acting in concert to protect rights provided for in the Act, whether or not a union exists

2) to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of a labor organization

3) to discriminate against employees for engaging in concerted or union activities or refraining from them

4) to discriminate against an employee for filing charges with the NLRB or taking part in any NLRB proceedings

5) to refuse to bargain with the union that is the lawful representative of its employees

From National Labor Relations Board official website
08:16 am - Fri, April 20 2012
op91 said:

I would go with no.5 As I am not a lawyer and and I don't work with anyone who is I have to take the word of the people at our national that have been handling this type of situations as their careers as to how it all applies. The fact of the matter is this we have filed against the company and now its up to the NLRB to rule on our claim. Now I am pretty sure that we would not be on strike if it were not a very strong case, because if we are not working then we are not sending in dues to our national. At this point the whole unfair labor practice thing is in the lawyers hands not ours. We continue to negotiate with the company trying to resolve our issues which to this point have been frustrating. The key to to number five on your list is the word bargain. you can in fact sit and talk till the cows come home and not bargain. that's what is happening. I am not being vague here I just prefer not to go into all the issues that are on the table as that is for the negotiation team to deal with. We as picketers are trying to get the companies attention. Just so you understand we do like our jobs and yes this is hard on us as a workforce but at some point you have to speak up and be taken seriously. This strike was not taken on a whim and we look forward to its peaceful resolution. If you have any other questions feel free to stop by the union office at the fair ground during normal business hours and talk to a member of the presidency. I would call first just to make sure they are there. Peace and God Bless
08:36 am - Fri, April 20 2012
Kona said:
Is this an accurate description of what took place with the vehicle incident?

PITTSBURGH � The United Steelworkers (USW) today demanded an investigation of the Cascade Steel security guard who intentionally struck and injured a USW member who was picketing early Thursday morning at Cascade Steel in McMinnville, Ore.

USW International President Leo W. Gerard said that the union will file an additional unfair labor practice charge over the incident against Cascade with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

�We are shocked and outraged that the driver was merely given a traffic citation, even though the evidence is clear that he struck the USW picketer with his vehicle on purpose,� Gerard said. �We want to know why he was not arrested and taken into custody.�

�A person who deliberately tries to run over another human being deserves much more than a traffic citation,� Gerard said. �Assault or even attempted murder would be more appropriate.�
09:18 am - Fri, April 20 2012
op91 said:
Another situation best left to lawyers and police wouldn't you say.
09:43 am - Fri, April 20 2012
garr55 said:
Hopefully all this will end soon,We all want to get back to work i like working for the Steel Mill and the foreman office staff and sure that they welcome us back in a heartbeat.
10:00 am - Fri, April 20 2012
DM said:
"McMinnville police cited the driver for failing to yield the right of way, a traffic infraction. They said the picket was bumped, not struck, and had no apparent injuries."

It looks like the police have already spoken. Unfortunately these two "bumping" incidents sure look like a page out of the union picketing playbook. Mac PD says he wasn't injured but the international president of the USW is clamoring for attempted murder charges. Sounds like he's organized labors answer to Al Sharpton.

10:28 am - Fri, April 20 2012
Kona said:


You said, "Another situation best left to lawyers and police wouldn't you say".

No, I don't think so, because this is the heart of the adversarial relationship. It is how the rank and file get their information and it is destructive for the members and the prospects of the union. They will believe the information and attitude of their leaders regardless whether or not it is accurate. I am asking, was his characterization of this incident accurate? Was it "attempted murder"? What would a union member in Texas (or anywhere else) think when they read his comments?

The USW International President Leo W. Gerard to characterize this incident in such a manner is disingenuous at the minimum. "For A person who deliberately tries to run over another human being deserves much more than a traffic citation, Gerard said. "Assault or even attempted murder would be more appropriate".
11:50 am - Fri, April 20 2012
sbagwell said:
The union has pulled its pickets and sent its members back to work. However, no resolution has been reached on a new contract. Talks continue.
We will be posting something imminently.
Steve Bagwell, Managing Editor
11:55 am - Fri, April 20 2012
op91 said:
Kona- first I would like to say that as of today the strike appears to be over. thanks to all that supported us during this trying time.
Now to your question. as i was not there i can only go by what my co-workers that were there said. according to them the guard the witness and the person hit all gave the same story. It was the news reg that downplayed it. to me if a person has to be treated in the hospital after an encounter with a car or truck then they were hit not bumped. How mac police handled the citation is between them and the person cited.
To me the police have been trying to not make things escalate and not take sides. They did a fantastic job. Lastly we look forward to getting back to work.
Peace and God bless
12:35 pm - Fri, April 20 2012
Hammer said:
Hey retardedbs,

if you dont care about our fight or if we return to work then shut the he** up. Yes I know this is a public forum and anyone can post a comment in favor or against, if you have nothing better to do than post comments on a subject that you dont care about your life must be realy sad. Try getting a hobbie or something. If you see someone picketing out it the middle of the street why dont you man up and say something to them instead of running home and hide behind your computer and spout off your uninformed crap about a fight you dont care about.


I asked you a direct question the other day, what is your interest in our fight? Do you work for the company? or have a spouse that works there, or maybe you are a business owner who is afraid your employees will start a union and stand up to you. Or maybe you are just a concerned citizen. Many people have tried to answer your question to the best of their knowledge and ability why dont you return the favor.

Let the bashing begin I am sure I will get blasted those comments. I love it
01:20 pm - Fri, April 20 2012
Kona said:

I am interested in labor relations and reasons for the demise of unions in the private sector of the U.S. economy. No connection with Cascade Steel. I have worked there on occasion however, and had a chance to see some spaghetti on the half inch line. I will say, that was interesting. I appreciate the answers to my questions. Thank you.
02:10 pm - Fri, April 20 2012
Hammer said:
Kona, thank you for responding, while I do not always agree with your comments I think everybody has a right to speak their mind. It just seems some people want to try and blame the union for everything. Trust me when I say we all want to get back to work, I cant speak for everybody but I like my job and the people I work with. You cant blame a person (or union) for wanting to better thier lot in life, kinda what America was founded on. I wish you well in life and hope you are never in our situation. Wow I think I almost teared up....shall we hug?
02:14 pm - Fri, April 20 2012
DM said:
Hammer, your childish rant isn't helping the level of empathy for the union side during this strike. On a positive note, now that you've been directed to go back to work hopefully you'll be able to blow off some steam and settle down.
02:41 pm - Fri, April 20 2012
Kona said:
Thank you Hammer. You said, "... hope you are never in our situation". I appreciate that. Actually, my whole career was probably one step beyond that. Every day I went to work I had to be the lowest cost. It would be like you having to be in competition with the rest of the world for your job every day. If you are working at $24.50 an hour and someone came in that day at $24.00 per hour you would have to go home and wait for another day.
03:09 pm - Fri, April 20 2012
op91 said:
Just one point of clarification about the 21 turn schedule. True that Cascade has not proposed it yet. they want to have the ability to install it at any time without talking to the union. that is the problem as current contract language would prohibit that. I know the contract has expired but in the negotiation process you work from the old contract language to achieve a new one. Now I would be more than willing to be on a 21 turn if the ENTIRE mill and all office workers right down to the president of the company was on that schedule. But that will never happen. I love working at the mill but at times I don't agree with what management is doing. It's like that everywhere though.Anyway I truly hope that a new subject comes along for you who are on this message board all the time. (END RANT)

God Bless
07:56 am - Mon, April 23 2012
Being Realistic said:
Part of me thinks that this whole thing is going to result in this company turning to different options for their labor in the future. It has happened in other industires as well and companies get better workers, less complaints from workers and sometimes don't have to pay as much - I'm talking about the minority populations - and I don't mean this as a racist comment so please don't start with that - it's just a fact. As a hard-working anglo young man, I still get out-worked by a lot of the hispanics, especially the new comers, they just have great work ethic and are proud to have a "good" job (that isn't all that good), they do nothing to risk getting fired but still the company doesn't treat them like slaves or takes advantage of them because they might feel scared to speak up, it makes for a really good work environment, these people have, in our country, taken the jobs that no one else wants - hard work, long hours, low pay, no overtime pay, no benefits, and they do a slammin job, imagine what they can do in a job that offers so much more - you'll have an extremely loyal work-force, i'm just saying, everyone is replaceable so the steel workers better get their act together because the company will do whatever they need to do to get their product out, with or without them.
08:59 am - Mon, April 23 2012
ItIsWhatItIs said:
Being Realistic, I have to say as much as i hate it, i agree, i work in a company that hires for agriculture and many (not all) anglos don't last a day - i'm not exagerating - it's true, they quit on the spot sometimes. Unfortunately too though, your company is probably the minority in that they want to be fair, many exploit the minority workers and pay them much less than they would someone else because they rely on them not speaking up -- i think people should speak up if they are being treated unfairly, but also, i think you shouldn't take what you have for granted and expect more just because you've always gotten it, in some ways this seems like a temper tantrum from the union - if i don't get what i want, then i'm not working - everyone is loosing on this strike - the workers, the company, the community, the customers, it's a chain reaction. What happens is that people get used to a good thing and instead of appreciating it they feel like it's a right not a priviledge so when they don't get it, they aren't happy. Really, I mean c'mon, look around you, everyone is in the same boat, wages being cut, work-loads increasing, more contribution for benefits, benefits being taken away completely, it hurts all of us but if we make no sacrifices the company we work for might shut down completely and then what are we going to do, where are we going to go? it's common scense, you can't always get what you want, deal with it.
09:09 am - Mon, April 23 2012
Just saying... said:
fight for what you believe in, but know that just because you're fighting for what YOU belive doesn't mean that you're completely right, there are always 2 sides to the story and both sides probably think THEY are right and I'm sure both sides are in some aspects.

Realistic is righ, everyone is replaceable but every job is replaceable too, so if you're truly that unhappy, just go find another job, i'm sure there must be tons of them out there right about now....

But seriously, good luck to both the company and the workers, I really hope you come up with a solution that's fair (which would mean everyone or no one will be happy) in the end
01:50 pm - Mon, April 23 2012
NimbWhitIB said:
The sad but true fact of the matter is: Unless you are one of the people at the perspective tables, OR the federal mediator. There is no way to know fact from fiction. We can only rely on what we read or are told, It would be very interesting to one day be able to read the mediators notes since he is the only true neutral party in these negotiations. Then the proof would be in the pudding as to whether the union was throwing a tantrum, Or the company was putting out smoke screens and playing games. I guess that will never be known.

With that said, There are many people at the mill both company or union that are friends,vacation together,coach each others children,BBQ together, and just enjoy the activities of life.

My hope is the company and the union stay the course and work toward a common goal, And this can all be viewed by all of us in our rearview mirrors!!!
02:08 pm - Thu, April 26 2012
Live and let Live said:
i for one am happy no one is waving at me, pointing and yelling, i mean picketing is one thing but harassing everyone who goes by is another

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