Steelworkers at Hynes reject new contract offer

The strike is entering its fourth week.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Members of United Steelworkers of America Local 2377 voted 62-30 Saturday to reject a new offer from Hynes Industries and continue their three-week-old walkout.
Alan Wire, local president, did not go into detail after the vote was taken in the Knights of Columbus hall on Industrial Road. "They removed the seniority issues and a couple of the smaller issues," Wire said.
"I won't negotiate a contract through the media. We have to see if we can work out the remaining issues," Wire said.
After working under an expired contract since Nov. 1, 100 members of the local went on strike against Hynes on Feb. 27.
The 81-year-old, locally-owned company, which has plants on Oakwood Avenue and Industrial Road, cuts and shapes steel and wire. Salaried employees are operating the plants during the strike. The proposed contract rejected Saturday would have run through Oct. 31, 2009.
"It's just kind of incredible," Bill Bresnahan, Hynes president, said of rejection of the company's offer.
The company has bargained in good faith, made good offers and addressed what union leaders said were impediments to an agreement, but union demands have been "moving targets," he said.
Proposal's new items
New items in the proposal rejected Saturday were the company's agreement to submit grievances on seniority issues concerning job assignments to arbitration, and a $500 signing bonus the company would pay each worker within 14 days after ratification, Bresnahan said.
Union officials had previously said resolving the matter of seniority rights with regard to job assignments was a major issue in the dispute.
Also new in the rejected proposal, the company agreed to let those hired after ratification have both a defined benefit pension plan and a 401(k) and the same prescription plan as other employees, Bresnahan said.
Previously the company had proposed that new hires get only a 401(k) plan and no defined benefit pension and have reduced prescription coverage.
"This is a strike that should never have begun," Bresnahan said. "It shouldn't still be going on."

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