Meadville Tribune

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February 28, 2013

Signing bonus, no pay hike for union steel workers at Channellock

MEADVILLE — Details of a new two-year contract between the United Steel Workers of America and Channellock have been released showing no hourly rate increase for this year, but a contract signing bonus for workers.

On Friday, members of Local 1917-3 of the United Steel Workers voted 97 to 80 in favor of a new two-year pact with the Meadville-based maker of pliers and other hand tools, said George Bryan Jr., president of the Local 1917-3. The union represents about 260 unionized workers at Channellock.

“We’re happy it’s done,” Bryan said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “There was give and take.”

The two-year agreement, which took effect Monday, has no raise for 2013 and a 25 cents per hour increase in 2014, Bryan confirmed. However, unionized workers each receive a $1,000 signing bonus.

There are changes in health care coverage with a higher deductible for workers and the addition of a health savings account, he said.

“My concern is if our insurance costs go up (in 2014), our raise (for 2014) may be absorbed by those costs,” Bryan said.

Approval of the contract was confirmed by Channellock on Tuesday, but a company spokesman had declined further comment.

The previous two-year contract between the union and Channellock expired at midnight Feb. 10. However, both sides agreed to an extension of that contract until midnight Feb. 24 while talks continued.

Channellock is the Meadville area’s largest industrial employer, with about 360 total employees at two plants — South Main Street in Meadville and Route 102 in Vernon Township. Approximately 260 of the workers are unionized.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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