North Jackson Universal Stainless employees organize a union
By Kalea Hall
Workers at the North Jackson Universal Stainless plant are now in an organized United Steelworkers union.
A three-person negotiating committee is working on the first contract for the 53 represented workers at the plant where specialty steels are produced.
“Clearly, I am ecstatic and pleased that we are welcoming new brothers and sisters,” said Jose Arroyo, USW business representative for the Youngstown-Warren area.
The workers at the plant voted to unionize Feb. 24, which was the third time they tried to unionize. On March 4, the unionization became official through the National Labor Relations Board. On Saturday, the workers elected the committee for negotiations.
Arroyo will help in what he says will be a lengthy negotiation process. Typically, the first contract takes six months to one year to negotiate, and then it is brought before the workers for ratification.
Employees at the plant wanted to organize not for economic reasons but for justice and dignity reasons.
“They really want structure,” Arroyo said. “They want classification. They want to know what their jobs are.”
There also are concerns about safety at the plant.
Bridgeville, Pa.-based Universal Stainless has four facilities, and now all facilities are USW union shops.
Arroyo said the company always has worked well with USW.
“We expect the same here at North Jackson,” he said.
The company had no comment for this story.
For USW, this is the first plant in the area to organize since the now-shuttered Warren Steel Holdings plant organized with USW last year.
Market conditions led the company to close this year.
Before that organization, Arroyo could not recall the last time USW organized a union at a local plant.