AK Lockout Timeline:
On Feb 28, AK Steel Corp. in Middletown, OH locks out 2,700 production and maintenance workers represented by the Armco Employees Independent Federation (AEIF).
Since the lockout began, retirements have reduced the number of locked out workers to current level of 2,200.
The company claimed it needed to cut health care costs, staffing and replace the company-managed pension plan with a 401k plan. AEIF is seeking to protect skilled jobs with industry contracting out language, a secure pension and commitments on training and investment.
Picket lines are established. AK Steel maintains partial operations at the mill with replacement workers and supervisors.
Injury rates inside the Middletown, OH mill begin to climb.
On April 10, a major explosion rocked the AK Steel plant. Two more replacement workers injured.
On April 25, AK Steel reports $27,000,000 loss during the first quarter of 2006.
Injuries continue. On May 4, replacement worker Curtis Johnson dies after an accident inside the plant.
On May 24, AEIF negotiators offer to accept AK Steel proposal to “lock and freeze” existing pension plan if company agrees to participate in IAM National Pension Fund.
On June 1, AK Steel notifies nearly 4,600 retirees and dependents their benefits will be cut on October 1.
In June, the AEIF Executive Board endorses affiliation with IAM and AEIF members begin signing authorization cards calling for an election to join IAM.
In 1994 and 1995, AEIF members voted against affiliation with USW. Subsequent efforts by USW fizzled due to lack of support.
On June 8, 2006, IAM and AEIF officials sign a Transition Agreement that addresses union dues, officers and gradual integration of the AEIF into IAM.
In July, AK Steel Corp. files brief with NLRB seeking to delay representational election. AEIF President Brian Daley accuses USW and AK Steel management of collaborating to delay election and prolong lockout.
On July 10, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sets July 26-27 as dates for manual, walk in election to determine union representation for workers at AK Steel. Election ballot to include: IAM; USW; AEIF and No Union.