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Ormet, union reach deal

June 7, 2011
Weirton Daily Times

HANNIBAL - Union leaders at Ormet Corp. reached a tentative agreement with the company on a new labor contract Monday, which, if approved, would avert a potential strike.

A vote on the deal, which will be detailed to workers in three meetings today, is set for Wednesday.

The 871 union employees at Ormet's Hannibal Primary Aluminum Reduction Plant saw their current contract temporarily extended after they rejected Ormet's new five-year contract offer last week.

John Puskar, staff representative for United Steelworkers Local 5724 at Ormet, said union members took issue with the company's proposed drug and pension plans in explaining why they refused last week's offer, though he declined to be more specific.

Puskar said union workers are scheduled to meet at 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. today to discuss the new contract's terms. They then will vote on the new deal from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Company officials at Ormet have declined to comment on the labor negotiations over the past week.

In 2004, Ormet had filed for bankruptcy protection, but it emerged from bankruptcy in 2005 in the midst of an 18-month walkout by union employees. The company closed and sold its former rolling mill shortly thereafter.

The union negotiations for a new contract come at a time when Ormet's revenue is up from last year. The company's public financial statement notes that for the quarter ending March 31, Ormet reported gross profits of $13.8 million, compared to $8.3 million for the same period in 2010.

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