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Strike Does Not Idle Latrobe Specialty Steel

May 4, 2008
Specialty long-products producer cites cost pressures in contract dispute

Workers at Latrobe Specialty Steel began a strike May 1, involving about 375 hourly workers. According to the Pennsylvania specialty long-products producer, members of United Steelworkers Local 1537 rejected the company’s final contract offer. It said supervisors and temporary workers are continuing to operate the plant.

The company’s nine processing and distribution operations are not affected by the strike. "Latrobe Specialty Steel will continue to keep its promises to its customers, suppliers, investors and its devoted employees,” stated president and CEO Hans Sack. “That means meeting our promised delivery and quality commitments."

Pointing to competition from foreign and domestic non-union operations, Sack emphasized that the company “must prudently manage the increasing costs affecting every phase of the business. Latrobe cannot be oblivious to global wage factors and inevitable economic cycles. We need to have a contract with the Steelworkers that will keep the company competitive for the long term.”

Latrobe Specialty Steel produces precision-engineered specialty alloy bars and rods for customers that include airframe and defense system manufacturers. Earlier this year the steelmaker initiated a melt shop expansion, tripling its vacuum melting capacity. The first hot metal is slated to come available in the third quarter of this year, and Latrobe says the project will continue on schedule.

“Latrobe has a duty to all its customers, especially to our nation's armed forces, to protect the production and delivery of our critical products to the manufacturers of vital defense equipment. While it is unfortunate that the local union rejected the company's offer, Latrobe Specialty Steel has made comprehensive contingency plans to maintain normal operations until the represented workers return to their jobs," said Hans Sack.