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Steelworkers walk picket lines

Apr 9, 2012 | 89 Comments

News-Register Staff

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12:04 pm - Mon, April 9 2012
DM said:
Morale will stay up until payday. It's sad it had to come to this. Both sides lose during a strike.
04:48 pm - Mon, April 9 2012
garr55 said:
I would like to take the liberty to thank the community for all your support.It really means a lot to us steel workers.
06:38 pm - Mon, April 9 2012
judgenot said:
We would like to thank all the folks for their support during this very difficult time. It is appreciated so very much.
06:49 pm - Mon, April 9 2012
Kona said:

Can someone explain what is the purpose of the "picket line"? For the general public, very few people seem to care.

"�Morale is up,� he said, adding that there is a disc jockey playing music. He said they have had pop-up tents, heaters, burn barrels and coffee and water stations set up at times.
08:53 pm - Mon, April 9 2012
darci said:
cascade steel just needs to do the right thing and be fair to the workers! the steelworkers just want a fair contract, right now they are not even keeping up with inflation and have'nt for years now all because of corporate greed! they dont deserve anymore take aways!!!!!! and how sad for the community of mcminville to suffer economically right along with them!!!!!!
09:25 pm - Mon, April 9 2012
garr55 said:
VERY SAD when most of the management will not give you the time of day and when they was where we are now.I DONT FORGET AND THEN do not call me my friend cause it will not be forgotten .And they can walk just like us
09:33 pm - Mon, April 9 2012
just me said:
kona, we are picketing due to unfair labor practices.
06:34 am - Tue, April 10 2012
op91 said:
First off, thanks to all that support the steel workers. Next I would like to dispel some misunderstandings about us that I have read on this message board.
1) We are not greedy people and we do appreciate our jobs. We only want a fair deal with the company that we have stuck by and rallied with in good and bad times.
2)Striking is not a position that we took on a whim, unless you have been in the negotiations and have first hand knowledge of all that is proposed, then it is unfair to judge us.
3) I hear allot about the money we make, this is a very interesting topic. Did you know that in the last 20+ years that the steel workers here have not received an raise!.
let me explain this, we have received a cost of living adjustment. This is not a raise. this is so that you can buy under ideal conditions the same items now as you did in the previous years. a raise on the other hand brings your financial standard up from previous levels.
4) To be clear this strike is not about financial compensation, at this point the company hasn't even talked about that in any depth. It's about them bargaining in good faith with the folks they employ,
07:10 am - Tue, April 10 2012
Kona said:
1) What exactly is a "a fair contract"?

2) Most middle class jobs have not kept with inflation.

3) "in the last 20+ years that the steel workers here have not received an raise"! That is mostly on how a raise is interpreted. It can be interpreted in many ways depending on a person's point of view.

4) What is "bargaining in good faith with the folks they employ"? If you disagree with the person you are bargaining with, does that mean that s/he is not "bargaining in good faith"?

I wish all of you an outcome that works well for everyone involved.
09:03 am - Tue, April 10 2012
op91 said:
I find your interpretation of comment #3 surprising, as I thought my explanation was very clear. a cola is a cost of living adjustment, and our cola over the past years has not kept up with inflation either. A raise allows you to have more purchasing options than before. and raises your standard of living.

#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.

If you have never stood on very hot steel for long periods of time then you cannot understand the job we do and it would be useless for me to continue debating our current labor situation with you.
09:15 am - Tue, April 10 2012
DM said:
Virtually all jobs give you a COLA instead of a "raise" unless your position changes and you're given more responsibility. Do you expect the company to give top tier employees more than a cost of living increase every year? That's what being part of a union is all about. You have a starting wage, a break in of several years before you get to the top rate, then you get COLA to attempt to keep pace with inflation. Some years it does, some it doesn't.
10:31 am - Tue, April 10 2012
Kona said:
This is the reality, most everyone in the middle class is not keeping up with the cost of living. This is the headwind that just about everyone is facing when negotiating for wages to keep up with cost of living, or more than cost of living.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- It's official. The first decade of the 21st century will go down in the history books as a step back for the American middle class.
Last week, the government made gloomy headlines when it released the latest census report showing the poverty rate rose to a 17-year high. A whopping 46.2 million people (or 15.1% of the U.S. population) live in poverty and 49.9 million live without health insurance.

But the data also gave the first glimpse of what happened to middle-class incomes in the first decade of the millennium. While the earnings of middle-income Americans have barely budged since the mid 1970s, the new data showed that from 2000 to 2010, they actually regressed.
For American households in the middle of the pay scale, income fell to $49,445 last year, when adjusted for inflation, a level not seen since 1996.

And over the 10-year period, their income is down 7%.
"Economists talk about the lost decade in Japan. Well, with these 2010 data, we can confirm the lost decade for the American middle class," said Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
10:48 am - Tue, April 10 2012
Kona said:

You said, "If you have never stood on very hot steel for long periods of time then you cannot understand the job we do and it would be useless for me to continue debating our current labor situation with you".

That is similar to what teachers always say in their negotiations. That argument just doesn't work well. Many people have very difficult jobs, both mentally and physically.

Again, if the situation warrants that everyone gets additional compensation, that is great. If the value of product goes down, or is in less demand, then unfortunately, the value of a person's labor goes down as well, even though a person is working just as hard, or harder.
01:22 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
ItIsWhatItIs said:
most people don't get raises, they get COLA increases---but guess what???? many companies are not only NOT giving COLA increases, they are REDUCING wages, c'mon, we all wish we were earning more money, not paying so much for medical insurance, having better coverage but the economy is bad and it's bad for everyone not just individuals but companies too - be thankful you have a job - how about this for an idea? if it's that bad GO FIND WORK SOMEWHERE ELSE, no one is forcing you to stay.
01:37 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
Blah Blah Blah said:
I agree with ItIsWhatItIs - i mean if your job is that dangerous, that unpleasant, that physically demanding, you don't have to stay there, bottom line is ALL jobs have things that suck - things we think no one else would put up with, but people do, and we are all seeing harder times, why do the steel workers feel they are "special" and shouldn't see what the rest of us are dealing with all the time - I got a $1.50/hr cut in pay - my company isn't doing that great, I pay $25 more for my health insurance, i have more work since positions have been eliminated completely - well, since i can't find something better, I'll stay until I do or until the company I work for recovers and we're compensated better --- yeah, it would be great to earn more money, have better benefits and do less work....when i find a job like that, i tell you, i'll never retire!
04:34 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
NWGuy1970 said:
Kona is definetly a troll.

If I had to guess, I'd say management or the family of management.

04:35 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
MER said:
Support and good wishes for all of you on strike. You should be proud of yourselves for stading up for what you believe in.
04:43 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
Hammer said:
hey Blah Blah, Whatitis and all you other haters out there, if you all are to scared to fight for what you believe in and stand up for yourselves then just keep your opinions to yourselves. My union brothers and sisters have decieded that we are going to stand up and fight for what we feel we deserve. If you dont back us that is your choice, so why are you spending all this time writing comments and keeping up on our buisness. Sounds to me like you are all jealous, what happened did some of you haters not make it at the mill?
I am proud of my co-workers that stand on the picket line with me no matter what happens in the long run. Thank you to all the people who honk and wave as they drive by, it keeps our moral up.
04:56 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
Michael Tubbs Sr said:

I haven't seen hate posted in any of the above comments.
05:13 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
Hammer said:
hmmmm? I have read every comment posted on the numerous storys about the labor dispute at Cascade Steel. Many have called the hard working people of the mill "foolish" and "crazy" for not going to work and that "hundreds of people would gladly take our jobs".

We are not only fighting for ourselves but for future union employees of Cascade. Also to not fight now would be disrespectful to our union brothers and sisters who have fought for the past 40 years for the benifits that we currently have.
05:37 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
Michael Tubbs Sr said:
Sure, some have voiced their opinions, but really that is all any of the comments..and/or questions have been. Nobody is wishing the worst for you, your brothers or sisters. Hater is a word that seems so easily bandied about way too often.

I, too, wish for you the best of all possible outcomes for all involved.

I've honored picket lines all my life. Now I could have asked the store where I'd purchased a single stick of #5 r-bar yesterday if it was a Cascade Rolling Mill's product, but I didn't. Sorry.


It also takes at least two, to Apache dance, and that seems more likely than a tango. So, cinch-up your fishnets ladies, you could be in for a long one!
07:47 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
op91 said:
some of the posters on this board try to be well thought out people with a real desire to understand what we are trying to achieve with this strike, while some others have just been out and out whiners about this absurd thing we are doing (striking during this economic downturn) to the first group I will say this, We have a responsibility to our families to provide the best life we can. Also to the community we live in to support our local businesses. If we keep going in the direction that we have been the last several years then yes we will no longer have good paying jobs with a future. We just want to be able to maintain our level of lifestyle.
To the second group of posters that whine about our being greedy or overpaid, I say this you are not me or my union brothers and sisters and I really don't believe you can fully understand what we do or what we have lost over the last several years. So please just keep your hate and ignorance of this situation to yourself.

Michael Tubbs Sr, any good dance takes two, and we may well be looking at a long haul (who knows) but if we don't try for better contract then having a union would be pretty worthless don't you think.
We just want what anyone else would want in our place, a contract that's equitable and fair.
08:12 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
forgotten said:
People have forgotten what the true meaning of what a man's word or a handshake mean. Many have posted that "we should be satisfied with what we have" and "and everyone is getting reductions". My question is " IF EVERYONE IS GETTING CUTS AND REDUCTIONS THEN HOW THE HECK IS THESE BANKS AND CORPORATIONS REPORTING PROFITS AND DIVIDENDS". Let me give you the short of it. Its mine, yours, and everyones labor!!!! I am not here to say that my job is more than important than yours, because it takes all of our labor to make America what it is. I am a vet from the first persian gulf war and a proud steelworker. I came 7 days out of highschool to a great brotherhood and came home and have almost another 17 years of another great brotherhood. But as fortunate as I feel it comes with a cost. Does your job have the potential of killing you at every turn; this is the possibilities of industries. Even though I was used to a fast paced lifestyle you can never prepare for the things these people call a day-to-day job. I stand beside people that have been almost dismembered, burned horrifically, disabled for life. This may seem extreme,but this is their life. I work hand-and-hand proudly with these folks. You wanna know why they keep doing what they do? Its because when we look down at our babies and we want to make sure they never see this side of life. I'm not gonna tell you I deserve the pay of a CEO, but I do deserve to feed and clothe my children in a degree that is compensable for the risk I take to produce for this company.I am not gonna give you a bunch of statistics that alot of people wouldn't understand. I tell my kids that anyone can follow, but it takes a special person to stand up and lead. The steelworkers are just exclaiming that a honest days work deserves an honest days pay. Again I hope not to offend anyone
08:42 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
I have been in and out of Cascade Steel now since 1993. As you can see by my user name, I have dealt with a few areas of the "mill", including yours OP91, I probably know many of you or your families. I'm pretty sure you helped hook those bundles to help me get my truck loaded and sometimes I would load and unload at the mill 3 times a day, not including unloading at Cascade's customers (and I always tried to make sure the customer was happy) and at the mill.(that doubles my workload), I did that for years. But, When you take a break which you are paid for, I get paid nothing. I probably know many of the respondents (those who respond) to this post, at least those who work there. When I was paying almost $600 per month just to have health insurance for myself and my wife, (never mind the co-pay to use it), you were asked to pay $125 and you complained. It is not the "company" that raises your premium, it is the insurance company. I'm sure I will get response from those that work the baghouse or the rodmill and meltshop...even utility, but I respect all of you, I always have. I even miss working with you. I only have one thing to say....You never know what you have until it is gone. Remember this...I bet NUCOR still has an offer on the table to buy..(with the strike the price goes down) and NUCOR doesn't do unions. Love and Best Wishes to YOU ALL.
08:58 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
Michael Tubbs Sr said:

All of my four children were born courtesy of an AFL/CIO group membership zero-deductible Blue Cross medical plan. That was back when there was a very high demand for competently trained carpenters. Benefits were great, and journeyman scale was $11.57 an hour. There were still a lot of steel mills operating in America then, but not so many anymore.
09:12 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
I was also in blue cross/blue shield...and was also union carpenter. Apprentice out of Job Corps.. employers said I wasn't qualified to run a vacuum cleaner. I asked them if they could build a Cupola? Seems they didn't even know what one was... my services were no longer required.
09:17 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
I've been to Pittsburgh recently, seems like a ghost town. seems steel is being imported now.
09:20 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
just me said:
first of all, to all my brothers and sisters, thank you for the turn out at the picket lines. to all of our supporters in the community, thank you for your support and donations. to those of you that do not understand our position, all i ask is that until you walk in our boots for a few shifts, please don't be critical of us. i personally don't know about your jobs or duties so i would be in no position to tell you how much you should make or what kind of conditions you should have. we are all people of the community and really should stand by each other. the more money brought into the community is better for all businesses. this is not about us making CEO wages but being able to raise our families and go home safe. thanks for all your support and lets stay strong.
09:29 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
Annotation to previous posts, Journeyman wages were at $17+ when I graduated after 13 months on campus training. Journey level after 5 years apprenticeship.
09:30 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
forgotten said:
Hey truckerman-- first off lets get this off on the right foot. You post, because you care and I can appreciate that. When we were first asked to start paying for our insurance I was young and nieve and thought this is horrible way to show appreciation for the atmosphere we work in on a regular basis. But today 17 yrs later and seeing and experiencing alot of what this mill has to offer in health wise. I am completey disgusted to say that I am paying what I am paying. In our mill we have signs that say lead area, toxic atmosphere, cancer causing agents and many other not very happy signs. I have had to say goodbye to alot of people from our mill that we have laid to rest because of cancer and various other health issues. Our mill has come along way in fighting these dangers but they still exist. I think anyone that works in toxic atmospheres or around electric arc furnaces that emit energy waves that will spin the dial on your watch should get free health care. Lets just be real; do you think we will live the same lifespan that a person working behind a desk will? You bring one good point about being loaded and waiting on us. If I can build a better relationship with our truck drivers then I would love too; you do deserve that much. Then maybe when I am standing on the line again tomorrow I won't have truck drivers throwing cigarette butts at me and my fellow steelworkers. People are right; we have a choice the way we treat each other, but when one group gets stereotype and martyred for being ungrateful. Its hard not to retaliate and make that other person feel the pain you feel. Although we have had no real conflict on our lines and pray we don't; I do wish you the best and appreciate you kind condolences
09:31 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
anglingaddict said:
The one VERY IMPORTANT thing I see missing from any one union member / supporter's postings is that they are not asking for a true "win / win" it is all about them and they also accuse the company / management of asking for the same thing "all about them".
I suppose I'll be labeled a "hater" now too since I haven't posted in full outright support of the "only correct side, the union side". $.02
09:51 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
If you want a raise, then have a private meeting with your employer and make your case that you are worth it. Then that is leverage!
09:54 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
forgotten said:
re: anglingaddict
I agree with that. With that being said how does your chain of command fall. I'll give you an example my family--my friends--then everything else. Does your company call you up and make sure your family is doing ok? Do they say " hey we are doing great this quater here is an extra $1k; do something nice for your family"? C'mon of course I want my company to be safe and profitable, because hopefully that MAY trickle some down to me for my extra efforts. But as I and WE have said before a FAIR CONTRACT is what we are looking for. Nothing anywhere I have read so far states that anyone wants to be brought to their knees. Todays society dictates $4 a gallon for gas (to go to work and come home), the rising cost of power to heat our homes, food prices raising exponentially, and so forth. When these prices raise corporations raise their prices in turn the rest of the world joins the gambit.With the housing market crashing; now the slumlords raise their rents on the rentals (do you know why?) cause they can.So I ask you " WHAT IS IMPORTANT FIRST IN YOUR WORLD".
10:05 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
forgotten said:
Sorry truckerman , But that is why we have a comprisal of people we have to negotiate a contract. Meeting with the company and discussing a raise is side bargaining and there are ramifications to these kind of actions. I wish it were that easy though
10:10 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
garr55 said:
Thank you Izzys pizza ,Little Caesas and the sweet lady that brought us home made cookies. Safeway the list can go on and on WE THANK you deep with end our hearts and all that honk while we stand up for our rights. May the lord bless you all.
10:16 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
@anglingaddit, your still fishing, not necessary. To Forgotten, I do understand the toxicity of the environment that they work in. I inhaled it every day. I picked up and delivered MMFX supplies all the time, which is the Hexavalent Chromium (CR(VI) that is referred. Marked high quality steel ( almost black steel ) no rust qualities, in a context only to sell to bridge and highrise developers and government contractors...look outside... bags are marked with and orange "X"< I delivered them many times. ask your "UNION" if you should be working with it, I bet they will get back to you on that.
With love, Truckerman
10:33 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
I propose that those that work the baghouse and the meltshop get "Full Self-Contained breathing and body apparatus. What say you?
10:35 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
Has your union asked for that or was it just me?
10:36 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
10:52 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
I would love to represent the worker...because I was and still am one. but I couldn't get the job, even though my heart is in it. Probably because my credit score isn't that high...LOL
10:53 pm - Tue, April 10 2012
truckerman said:
I don't like seeing my fellow workers being taken in.
12:39 am - Wed, April 11 2012
oregoniansrun4fun said:
You guys are doing the right thing, and not allowing yourselves to be walked all over. It doesn't matter who or what these people are that are trying to argue with you, and act like what your asking for is ridiculous. If they are part of management, or some random low life that just wants to act like they understand what is going on, it really does not matter. What they have to say is pointless. If they were in your shoes they would have the same exact rights you are entitled to. If they were able to exercise those rights, and ask to be treated fairly why wouldn't they? I know that there are tons of hardworking men and women at the steel mill. Quite frankly I don't think the jobs you perform are for everyone, and a lot of people would not be able to handle it. Your hard work needs to be rewarded, and definitely nothing you have should be taken from you. You guys know your job, and are major assets to the company. Keep up the good work.
12:41 am - Wed, April 11 2012
garr55 said:
truckerman WOW its one thing hauling it and and another working around it all the time, filters right in your cab?
05:13 am - Wed, April 11 2012
judgenot said:
I cannot stress enough how strongly I feel about these posts people are making in the negative when they have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what these men and women go through each and everyday at work. I don't even know everything, and I have lived with a steel mill worker for 18 years. All I know is how hard he works and how dangerous his job is. That is NOT a complaint, it is a fact. All he wants is to be fairly compensated for his work he does. However this strike is NOT about any of that. IT IS A STRIKE BECAUSE THE COMPANY WILL NOT NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH. That is the reason for the strike!! If you do not understand what negotiating in good faith means, perhaps you should do some research to understand what this means BEFORE you post negative things about the situation you obviously do not understand. Please get the true facts before you post negative responses about this strike. I support these guys in their endeavor to keep all that they have gained in the last 40 years! Good for them!!
06:16 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Blah Blah Blah said:
" just keep your opinions to yourselves." THIS IS A POST FOR OPINIONS, if YOU don't like to read someone elses opinion that does not agree with you, maybe YOU SHOULDN'T READ THE COMMENTS!
06:49 am - Wed, April 11 2012
juskickinit said:

So please tell us what does that exactly mean. It was asked in this thread and never explained. It is not self explanatory.

I have also not seen any hateful posts. You union workers do yourselves a disservice when you claim hate by people giving you an opinion. It pushes people away from your cause and actually makes them lose sympathy for your cause. So explain your positions to them and stop the garbage about hate.
06:57 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Kona said:

What is the end game? When the value (demand) of product goes down and the cost (labor) of production goes up, what happens? Historically, the end game for steel production in the U.S. is that the mills shut down or get sold to a non-union company. This pattern has been repeated over and over in the last 50 years, not only in steel but many areas of the economy. It doesn't make the company a "bad" company", nor the employees "bad employees". It is just the way things work. The problem is that businesses and unions have an adversarial relationship rather than a cooperative relationship. By the time a company and labor start to cooperate the pain is past the point where the situation can be reconstructed. This situation is textbook in the way it is unfolding. It will be textbook in the results. The realistic situation is that Cascade steel does not have a corner on rebar production. If it did this wouldn't be such a tenuous position.
07:34 am - Wed, April 11 2012
David Bates said:
When workers go on strike, I know some people see it as a bad thing, a breakdown in the system, the “everybody-loses-in-a-strike” response. I disagree. Many benefits enjoyed by the working class were won because the workers who came before them were principled and courageous enough to walk a picket line. Rank-and-file workers are not fighting this fight only for themselves; it’s for the men and women who will work there after they are gone, and we should be inspired by their example. I am glad to see worker solidarity on the rise, and I want to salute the steelworkers who are out there. Support Local 8378!
07:38 am - Wed, April 11 2012
op91 said:
Ok let's go over this - to bargain in good faith would entail that when two sides sit across the table from each other and talk about a subject, then after much back and forth talk come to a tentative agreement. then they caucus to discuss privately what just happened. After which they come back to the table. Now here is the hit why we claim not bargaining in good faith. After this process has been run to the point of returning to the table, the company then pulls the item back off the table that they have agreed on and wants to go back to the beginning and start all over. This would not be so bad IF it did not happen over and over and over on the same issues. Please understand for those of you that have been talking about the money we make, this strike is not about wages..... they have't even talked about wages in the proposals yet. most of what they are talking about is language of shift hours and so on.If you were bargaining with someone for something and every time you had a tentative deal in place they would turn around and re-neg on it and this went on again and again over and over, how long would YOU waste your time before saying come on enough is enough. This strike is us saying enough is enough to the company and lets get serious and work out the contract. I really hope this explains what we are striking for. Thanks and GOD bless
07:58 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Kona said:


This wouldn't be the first time that a company desired a shutdown to clear inventory and stop the hemorrhaging. It is obvious that there is stifled demand for Cascade Steel's products. At some point it becomes senseless to keep the doors open. From what you describe, Cascade is at that point. How can a company have more restrictive labor at a time when product is in little demand? I don't know if the "end game" is close, but it is heading quickly in that direction. Will it be recognized too late? Cascade is a very small part of Schnitzer Steel. The leverage isn't there when the product has diminished value.
08:05 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Hacksaw said:
I am also interested in an explaination from the union on what their idea of a "fair" contract is....

I understand that the work is dificult and can be dangerous. I understand also that the workers do a good job and that the state of the economy is not in their control, but how is an increase in compensation costs for a segment of the company that is losing money "fair" to the company? Isn't it the companies duty to cut costs during times when the ecomomy is laging?. Many workers both locally and across the natiion have faced the reality of reductions in wages, increased benefit costs and outright loss of jobs.... demanding that the company absorb more costs at this time doesn't seem logical to me....

Timing is everything, and it seems that negotiating with a company that is making profit would generate much more community sympathy and support for your position..

08:06 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Michael Tubbs Sr said:

When I'd made the decision to become a union carpenter, I actually had to settle for a cut in pay, but gained through the medical benefits offered at that time. I was already a journeyman carpenter and hadn't needed a card in my wallet to prove that to anyone.

Back then, just about anything made in Japan was considered inferior compared to an American made product... re-bar included. 100 to 500 single family home housing tracts rising out of what had been a farmers pasture was not an uncommon event.

How times have changed.

You've hit the nail on the head, and between you and I, I've never thought of you as a troll (unlike some people around here) ...actually quite the contrary.
08:34 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Kona said:

Yes, consider what has happened to the income of Oregon carpenters as the demand for their product has diminished. It isn't as though their company owners are "bad", nor their carpenter skills are gone. It is a reflection of the economy. Would it do any good for the carpenters to set up a picket line demanding more compensation?
08:51 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Michael Tubbs Sr said:
10:57 am - Wed, April 11 2012
garr55 said:
Never have done production work in my life before i landed in this area.Indeed have a trade that i can fall back on..Cascade Steel has been the most amazing place that i have worked made so many friends, they are good people and what we ask is merely pocket change to the company.In my past i have worked for a companies that never treated me like a number.I do understand if they are in the red but that is so far from the truth.Now when you look around these men and women spending what they earn in this area, they are not a number but your neighbors your friends and would help in a heartbeat if you was in need.. I feel so blessed to know all of you at the steel mill and in my book you are all not a number but my friends :))))))))))
11:39 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Hacksaw said:
help me understand how you know Cascade is making money? Are the quarterly reports incorrect?
11:53 am - Wed, April 11 2012
Obie said:
Too bad that as Cascade Steel continues to lose money the union demands more and more...would imagine this will eventually cause Schnitzer to just close the mill that continues to lose money. Will be horrible for the local economy and we'll all have the union to thank for it!!!
11:58 am - Wed, April 11 2012
DM said:
"I do understand if they are in the red but that is so far from the truth"

Garr, I looked at the last 2.5 years of financials and Cascade has a net loss of a little under $3,000,000. I don't know what your definition of "in the red" is but if I worked at a company that was bleeding cash like that I'd be happy to stay employed and not show up one morning with the place shut down permanently.
01:44 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.
02:10 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
just me said:
all of you that keep saying the company is always losing money, let me ask you a question, why did we receive profit sharing checks three out of four quarters last year? if any of you doubt it, just meet me somewhere and ill show you the check stubs. yes the quarterly reports show a loss, but if we hit the proper thresholds in a month we receive those checks quarterly. so for two months we could receive it and the third they could do a major capitol improvement but we are locked in for the first two months. that is something the reports don not show. so until you know the whole story and system i ask you how do you know the truth? as i have stated in previous posts, we are not asking for the moon and stars in a contract, all we are asking for is something fair for our work environment. as far as the cost of business goes, if you are an executive, you are selling experiance and knowledge to your boss, we are selling our labor to ours. our company can pass on some production increases to customers when they go up, but you all are saying that when the same cost go up for us we just need to "stop complaining and just be happy your working." seems like some on here are corporate people and dont think that anything below them is important other than their opinions.
some of the things that have not been mentioned as issues is some of the safety language, if you know what a 21 turn shift is than you understand. also they would like to have manditory 16 hour shifts on top of this 21 turn. that is the most unsafe work schedual out there and then they want to be able to make you stay for a double if someone else is sick. that would lead to burn out. thanks for letting me add my opinion here to this.
02:14 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
I just need a break! said:
People should stand up for what is right, I completely agree with that, but people should also learn to know the difference between a company being unfair, and a company needing to cut back as much as possible to continue to see a profit or have less losses.

What would be better, eliminating some positions, paying the remaining employees more but requiring them to do more work, or being patient another year to see if things beging to get better?

I don't know the details, that is true, but from what I can tell, the people who are really supporting this strike are mostly the workers and their families/friends, and I do wish them the best of luck, but I hope they too are keeping an open mind and not just asking the company to do that.

I hope for the best outcome for the workers AND the company AND the community, I hope that no one is being selfish and everyone is being fair.
02:24 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
Making it a Great Day said:
Well, the way I see it is if you work for a company that gives you profit sharing when things are going well (and last I knew profit sharing is not legally required) and contribute to your benefits as much as possible when they can, they must care about their workers at least a little bit, so maybe now that they are saying things aren't so good, it's time for the workers to be understanding.

02:28 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
just me said:
thanks need a break, the unfair part is the fact of the way the first two months of negotiations went, they didnt even show an economic proposal until mediation was started, and they wanted to wipe out 60 some odd pages of the contract and rewrite them. that is the unfair part, as i have said before, we are not asking for 5 or 10% cost of living, just a fair cola. as stated previously minimum wage was raised here in oregon by 3.77% the first of january. (google oregon minmum wage if you wish to varify). again, i would like to thank you for keeping an open mind and not judging. the whole community benefits when more people are working in a local company.
02:31 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
just me said:
great day, the reason they give us profit share when they make the threshold is because its in the contract. but, if you were to show a checkstub that shows a large variance in payout, i highly doubt anyone would finance that person to purchase a car to drive to and from work. that is how they want to show a raise is in the form of profit share that they control all the numbers for. to me that just doesnt make sence for the working person.
02:37 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
Hacksaw said:
Just me....

I'm not sure that the receipt of a "profit sharing" bonus on a monthly basis proves that the company made profit for the year. It sounds like your workers made a "threshold" (based on sales?, production? or profit?)during a couple months and earned you some extra dollars. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal considering what Cascade has shown in their quarterly report.

You have pegged me correctly as a management employee (but not in your industry) but I do take exception to the notion that managers feel that everyone below their position is unimportant. Most employers highly value their employees work ethic, their training and their dedication to production and quality, but unfortunately in the last few years it has been extremely difficult to reward those individuals monetarily. It's hard to tell good people that the numbers don't add up for raises or profit sharing contributions....but that is the case for the vast majority of industries.
05:37 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
forgotten said:
Now I am unsure of the background of many of these postings. But I sure there are very few here that unerstand the difference in how the company structure works under the evaluation of how monies are incorporated and dispersed in a company setting. First off you have to understand the economics or the macroeconomics of how Cascade steel runs its mill. Not the steel industry, but the individual entity itself. Then you need to understand the positioning of the corporation as a whole. Everyone seems to be stuck on minute symantecs. And not understanding the bearing to what they have and had become. I keep hearing this "End Game Theory". True enough in an extreme sense could this be possible, but through corporation sense. If you have a three part corporation and 2 parts dont cut the mustard in 1-3 fiscal quarters and 1 does well how do you balance the boat to keep your shareholders satisfied so they don't pull their monies and run.This is very simply business 101. Some of the questions I see are valid and well written, but not truly thought out. Listen, if I produce an income that is far above my actuated expense its considered profit. kinda like when you get a bonus from work above your nominal pay. If I cannot show a reinvested capital expense then I am taxed in a capital gain. Remember corporate taxes are different that individual taxes. To alleviate a capital tax and forgo a large payback; I inturn pay profit share to my employees and again have a write off for the expense. Unless you have business backgrounds these statistics can be misleading and unfortunately can portray something if you are unsure what you are looking at. To me the "END GAME THEORIST" is an extremist and not a realist.Everything has the potential for shutdown. Does anyone understand our positioning in the global and immediate market? We actually provide services that other mills cannot; rebar is not all we do!
05:50 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
Kona said:


I understand, and the "end game" is very realistic. The demand products from Cascade Steel has diminished considerably. Cascade Steel is a small part of Schnitzer Steel (less than 10 percent). It is difficult to increase compensation when demand for products is decreasing. I'm sure you will get the increase in compensation if there is room in the budget.
06:23 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
forgotten said:
Like any thriving corporation when inadequencies became apparent; you either adjust to market demand or close up shop. This is realism. Are you aware of the capital improvements made at cascade in the last lets say 5 yrs? I'm gonna venture to say no. Our rebar has taken a substanstantial hit if not almost a knockout. This is mostly because the lack in the building and erection of new projects. Do you realize that we hold a varied abilities in producing merchant products and not only stick rebar but coiled bar also. I company finally attained a NQA certification (nuclear quality assurance). Giving us ability to produce and supply government contracts. How many I ask you are on the west coast have this.We are the only one. Its not truly amazing that cascade steel hasn't closed its doors. In business sense its actually quite in a unique situation compared to the other companies its tied too. People keep claiming that cascade steel Is only 10% of the corporation. Lets gets something else straight on percentages of subsiduaries or parent companies of a corporation. When you say a company is 10 or 20 or 30% of a corporation; what does this entail? When you buy stock option they give you a understanding of nominal expenditure of each entity. This also includes profit (imagine that)( they have to, it federally mandated through trades and commisions). When you have to larger companies that require more attention and is a basis you will see or suspect that it has a larger market value to the corporation, but in fact the part you will not see is that even though cascade is a mini steel How in the tripod does it fit in. For example; cascade plays an integral part in dimishing the unsaleable scrap that it cannot normal move so therefore charging its subentity an abundant price for a substandard consumable. Percentage are nothing more than a talking piece. Hardcore actuation reports determine pecking order.
06:52 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
bottom line said:
Just want to say thank you so much to the many people who have showed their support to the men and women who are on strike. From dropping off pizza, soda, water, coffee, donuts to honks and waves, your support means the world to these men and women. My husband has been so grateful for the show of support. My heart goes out to all of you who understand that we shouldn't just complain when things aren't right and hope they change, but we take a stand and make that change happen. Thanks again.
09:33 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
juskickinit said:
op91 said: "This strike is us saying enough is enough to the company and lets get serious and work out the contract. I really hope this explains what we are striking for." .........

After all the posts I have read I now can say I understand. Thank you. And what you posted being the case then I to would say enough is enough.
10:38 am - Thu, April 12 2012
Hacksaw said:

While you make some valid points, isn't the most relevent point (For Mg't) that Cascade as a profit center is not making money? You can argue long and hard about accounting practice but the bottom line is that the Union is asking for compensation increases from the profitability of other areas of the company. If I read correctly that the workers position for wages is 3% increases for the next 2 years and 3.5% the third year. That's a big chunk of dough( $1million plus/yr?) for an unprofitable entity. I have heard other posters say it's not about money but that demand will likely be a pretty big hurdle to overcome.

One point I do agee with, I doubt Cascade would consider shutting down the mill completely, as they have too much invested in infrastructure, but until demand for product picks up (which might be awhile), they may be happy to sell off inventory and not pay wages. I hope for all of us that doesn't happen.

I do wish the workers luck in finding a satisfactory solution, but I hope reasonable discussions and mutual trust can be the guiding principles of both sides.
06:47 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
just me said:
hacksaw, first of all, thank you for the wish of luck, the money part of this is what exactly what it sounds like, a negotiation. in a negotiation there has to be give and take, not just give by one party and take by the other as i am sure you know. some of the big sticking points are that the company wants to be able to go to a 21 turn schedule. i dont know if you have ever worked that, i have not done it myself, but some of the guys that have been out here long enough remember it and they say it is a nightmare on the worker. they say after about a month of it you dont even know what day it is, what shift you work and it wreaks &^%$ on families. its not a safe schedule to be on either. also insurance is a sticking point, the company is wanting us to double what we now pay for the exact same insurance. as i have said before, we dont have the cadillac plan but we dont have a yugo either. so with no pay raise( cost of living rose 3.77% according to BOLI and they adjusted minimum wage accordingly at the beginning of the year) we would be bring home even less and that means even less to be spread around the community as far as spending. who do you tell you cant pay them, because your getting less, your house payment, car payment, electric, water sewer? the company is also trying to get rid of our safety language that is in our contract as well. so its about language, safety, unsafe schedules and money. not just money. i thank you for the support, i just felt i needed to let you know its not all about the money.
07:01 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
just me said:
also to hacksaw, the profit sharing was actually the way the company wanted it set up years ago, that is on them. as far as companies rewarding workers, this one does just treat us as a number, i have been there for 15 plus years, called in sick twice and took a few days off when my mom was dying. they dont reward us other than the paycheck. in 05, i think, the maintence departments got a pay raise and the production workers got nothing, then the next three years the whole mill kicked ass and we made great profits for all. then the financial world crashed. we had rolling layoffs, then back to eight hour shifts six days a week. all the while, we the workers were doing our very best for the company, and we even agreed to wait a year for a raise the company agreed to and add a year to the contract. the way the negotiations started out it was like we never ever showed any gesture of good will and they just keep wanting to take. it is true, some companies do treat everyone right, sometimes its because they are good employers, other times its just so the workers wont want to join a union. you are correct, sometimes the money isnt there, but thru this whole down turn schnitzer has been doing capitol improvements so when everything turns around we are primed to fill these specialty contracts. but when all that happens, they wouldnt just come out and say heres a raise because your doing a great thing here. they are in business to make and sell steel, our labor happens to be one of the costs of doing that. the 3% your talking about is only roughly about thirty cents to most of the production guys that are out in harms way trying our best to make steel in a safe and profitable manner. its not like we are asking for 10% or anything outrageus.
08:31 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
Hacksaw said:
Just me

Thanks for the question regarding the 21 turn shift. How does a shift like that benefit the company? Does it save money or allow the company to use less employees? Additionally, I don't understand the benefit of a 16 hour shift as an employee just can't be as productive after that length of time in the saddle.

I guess at times common sense goes out the window in favor of brinksmanship.
09:27 pm - Thu, April 12 2012
just me said:
hacksaw, first off, i must correct a mistake i made in an earlier post, the 3% would not be thirty cents an hour, it would be closer to fifty cents, for that mistake, i'm sorry. 21 turn would allow for a few less workers but it also would result in more call offs for people trying to deal with family issues, stress and general all around confusion to the worker. when i was in my late teens and early 20s i did a job where i had to work 5 am to 11pm. that was tough then and now that i'm twice that age i think it would make me a bit rummy or worse. why the company is stuck on wanting these two items in the contract language i have no idea. you may be correct when you say common sense goes out the window in favor of brinksmanship.
07:22 am - Fri, April 13 2012
Kona said:
UPDATE: Chip Terhune, environmental and public affairs director for Schnitzer Steel in Portland, said that there has not been a 21 turn shift schedule proposed by Cascade Steel Rolling Mills in the labor negotiations, as was announced and reported on in the union�s informational rally on Monday.
10:47 am - Fri, April 13 2012
Nick K said:
Kona - I would like to know who you are and where you are getting your information. I'm assuming that you are part of management and therefore can not be trusted to provide truthful information. If you are an unbiased third-party with a credible source, then maybe I could take you at your word. Until then, I will assume you are part of management and are hiding behind a screen name (as I have not) to spread negative propaganda.

Nick Kanig
10:56 am - Fri, April 13 2012
Hacksaw said:

That information was reported in the News Register by Ossie Bladine. The article has the headline "despite progress, sides still far apart"

11:36 am - Fri, April 13 2012
Nick K said:
Hacksaw - Thank you for the information. I read that article a few days ago, but not the update. I would still like to know who Kona is and where they have gotten their information about the companies supposed losses and all other information that was provided.
12:10 pm - Fri, April 13 2012
sbagwell said:
Nick K:
Kona is an independent McMinnville resident with a background in business. There is no association between Kona and the mill or its management.
Steve Bagwell, Managing Editor
01:04 pm - Fri, April 13 2012
DM said:
Nick K - "I would like to know who you are and where you are getting your information. I'm assuming that you are part of management and therefore can not be trusted to provide truthful information." Wow, if I worked at a place where I felt that way about my employers I'd be doing everything in my power to find employment elsewhere. As far as the financials go, it's not that tough. Here you go..... Nearly 3 million in losses for Cascade the past 2 and a half fiscal years. Not good.

What's going on right now is nothing unique. I recently went through labor negotiations and can't count the number of times one of my managers came up to me telling me the latest rumors on the floor about what the company was or wasn't offering, The claims were so outlandish and false you had to laugh. More often than not it was employees who just liked to stir the pot. I would strongly recommend you only get your information directly from those who are sitting at the bargaining table. It's amazing how information changes after it's passed through a few different people.
03:39 pm - Fri, April 13 2012
Nick K said:
DM - That is one of the frustrating things about this situation. We have been told many things by management via written handouts only to have our Union say they are lies or half-truths. So I can't believe anything the company is saying at this time. I love my job and the company I work for but times like these make it difficult to show it.

I was unable to find the article on the page you linked but I don't doubt your findings. The thing that people don't understand is being a part of Shnitzer makes us different from other companies that are a single entity. Cascade itself my not have made a profit from selling its product, but we made a profit for Shnitzer in other ways - which wouldn't show as profit for Cascade Steel.

Lets not forget what this strike is all about. It's not about Cascade Steel making a profit or not. It's not about the Union wanting more wages. It is an Unfair Labor Practices Strike. If it was just about trying to hash out a good deal that both Company and Union could live with, we would still be working while they hash away. We are on strike because the company has failed to negotiate in good faith.
03:34 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Being Realistic said:
So how long do they think this is going to lasta nd what are they going to support themselves on now? I don't think you can get unemployment while you are on strike, and honestly, I don't think you should since it is voluntary to be on strike.
07:50 am - Thu, April 19 2012
DM said:
I believe in Oregon you can only collect unemployment insurance if the company locks the employees out, not when the union chooses to go on strike. On the bright side it's supposed to be in the 70's this weekend!
05:30 pm - Thu, April 19 2012
forgotten said:
Come on Guys..... Do you really think these steelworkers are unprepared and don't realize they cannot collect unemployment. There is alot of structure that goes into a strike. And sure money gets tight, but I am assuming alot of you have never participated in an asserted action like this. Listen!!!! These folks are standing up for something that very few would do. Just because you cannot find it logical; doesn't mean it is not. Let me put it this way " I believe in the lord almighty and he provides me with opportunity if I choose to believe and pursue". Many people don't believe in god and tell me that I am foolish to believe in something that is not there. I may not be able to prove he is there; but you cannot prove he doesn't exist. Hopefully you can decipher the analogy. I also believe in respect and I would like someone to explain to me how respect can be achieved visually so I know that I am receiving it for my actions. And also explain to me the difference in right and wrong without personal bias. Thank you...
06:37 am - Fri, April 20 2012
Hacksaw said:
Sorry, I guess I don't "decipher your analogy" believe in God and he will provide you with opportunity...ok! does that mean you feel god is on your side in this disagreement and that management are non believers? Not sure I buy that line of thinking.....

06:51 am - Fri, April 20 2012
forgotten said:
Ok I understand It may be above the cognitive thought. Just because you cannot understand the situation. You should not post comments negatively towards the action. Its relevant that your lack of understanding clouds judgement in the interpretation of right or wrong. I.E.--- You have never done the job these folks do; nor do you understand the adversity of the actions portrayed. Take the time and stop and talked to these people and understand fully what is at hand. Posting blind comments on a computer is only 1% of the fight. As for the analogy--listen everyone has a difference in right or wrong. What may be right in my house may wrong in yours. So criticism against someone is this magnitude is nothing more than JUDGEMENT!!!!!!!!! What makes you any better than these people. This is not to taken as a dig; just a more spirited answer to your question.. Thank you
08:12 am - Fri, April 20 2012
Hacksaw said:

I'm a little confused....what negative comments have I posted?

So if I ask you to look at the issues from a business perspective (profit and loss) then I am to stupid to understand the situation? Could you be any more condesending? If you are unwilling to accept the reality of today's economic climate in America and the fact that demand is down from previous times, then I submit that it is You that doesn't have a full understanding of the situation. Is the recession our economy is now recovering from a lie?

As far as being "right and wrong" on issues...I don't think it comes down to that. Seems to me that the contract disagreements will be resolved by compromise and cooperation between the two parties.. Neither side is 100% right or wrong and if either party claims that they are, then this will be a very long strike indeed!
04:39 pm - Fri, April 20 2012
forgotten said:
Re; hacksaw
If I have come across condescending; I apologize! With current situations you may taken the blunt for the other criticisms that may have been afforded. Again I apologize.
Lets just get a bunch of things straight. You say its about mutual considerations (i.e. cooperation and compromise). The steelworkers forgave a 3.5% cola in 2011 to show the good faith in the company (I have this in first hand knowledge). Do you know what they did with that approximately $600k? I tell you! They gave it to the managers as an pay increase; then purchased a hole lotta safety banners and rugs (is spending the money like that a good show of faith?). Then one year later when a contract is to be negotiated; what did the steelworkers get. They got refusal to bargain, bargaining in bad faith and what not.
I'm sure you understand the frusteration when the people refer to the steelworkers as greedy, whiny, or even ungrateful. The steelworkers showed their concerned for the present economic times, but in return received nothing but ridicule and spite.
I believe all the steelworkers respect and care for their positions, But hey we all go to work to make a living and that constitutes Money. With in turn safety and happiness play a essential part too. There is alot people are unaware in this whole proceeding, and when its over people with find something else to attack.
Again I apologize. But for these steelworkers its their way of life and I fully support them.

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