More than 400 workers at Steel of West Virginia in Huntington face an uncertain future. They're working without a contract after the agreement between their union and the company expired. A strike could come at any time!
Both sides certainly are on the line, but just on Sunday night, a good sign. At eleven o'clock the latest shift of steelworkers clocked in. They don't have a contract, but right now they do have a job.
The furnaces have not cooled down at Steel of West Virginia, despite chilling news of a possible strike.
Local Union President Craig Knight says the workers want to work.
“We hope the company will take this as a message that we're still here, and we do want a contract here,” said Knight. “We don't want to strike."
It’s one instance where both sides agree.
Company Vice President Bruce Groff says a strike is the last thing he wants. On Friday, he presented the company's last, best and final offer, which he describes as a "very generous and fair agreement." For example, it includes a $2 dollar an hour wage increase over four years, which would raise the average rate to nearly $19 dollars an hour. But union leaders say that's not enough!
The main sticking points for the union are rising health care costs and problems with the proposed pension plan. They’re setbacks that could force the workers to walk out.
That could literally come at any time because on Saturday, the members voted to give their leaders the ability to strike. It's a worse case scenario, but it's certainly possible. Meanwhile, Bruce Groff with Steel of West Virginia says he'll take it day-by-day. He wants to negotiate and believes the employees will stay on the job.