Metro-East News

Steelworkers vote in favor of strike authorization amid slow negotiations

Granite City Works steelworkers voted to approve a strike authorization Thursday, according to a union official.

The authorization does not mean workers will go on strike immediately, said Dave Dowling, director of the United Steelworkers Sub-District 2 in Granite City. It only gives the union approval from its members to call for a strike if negotiations for a national contract agreement continue to stall with U.S. Steel.

Local union members voted unanimously in favor of authorizing a strike if necessary, Dowling said.

Union leaders say the company has fought against a raise for employees, while the company says it is working “diligently to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion.”

President Donald Trump visited the mill recently to tout the return of hundreds of jobs. Tariffs on imported steel imposed by Trump’s administration contributed to the return of those jobs.

Asked if Trump would support workers in their negotiation efforts, a spokesman for the president said Trump is “a pro-growth reformer.”

“President Trump is a pro-growth reformer who supports free trade that is fair and reciprocal that will benefit all American workers,” spokesman Judd Deere wrote in an email to the BND.

Negotiations were expected to continue next week in Pittsburgh, Dowling said.

The company and United Steelworkers agreed to “an ongoing extension” of collective bargaining agreement negotiations, which expired at midnight on Sept. 1, according to a statement on the company’s website.

The company rehired 500 workers in recent months and promised it would bring back an additional 300 jobs to Granite City Works by the fall.

Reporter Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110, @kelseylandis