Ohio Local 1943 Members Ratify New Accord with AK Steel

The Local 1943 Negotiating Committee helped secure a new three-year contract that holds the line on health care costs. From left, James Smith, Grand Lodge Representative; Steve Hollon, Committeeman; Neil Douglas, Local 1943 President and Directing Business Representative; Troy Witte, Committeeman; Tom Singhoffer, Local 1943 Vice President; Jason Black, Committeeman; Tim Combs, Committeeman; Shawn Coffey, Committeeman; Ed DeVault, Recording Secretary; Gregory Swartz, Secretary-Treasurer/Business Representative.

Members at IAM Local 1943 in Middletown, OH overwhelming ratified a new three-and-a-half-year accord. The deal comes nearly three months early after the employer AK Steel approached local leadership to enter into early negotiations. The current agreement covering nearly 1,700 IAM members at Middletown Works was set to expire September 15, 2014.

The new contract features wage increases across the board over the life of the contract along with other enhancements.

“The Negotiation Committee was prepared for the company to propose a concessionary contract and they did,” said Local 1943 President and Directing Business Representative Neil Douglas. “We were able to make gains while protecting important provisions in the agreement. The Committee fought for and brought back not only wage increases, but also increased contributions to the IAM National Pension Fund and the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) fund.” The VEBA offsets the cost of pre-Medicare retirement insurance and helps pay for health care services for workers who retire before they qualify for Medicare.

IAM Negotiators held the line on health care costs and benefits while making more members eligible for pre-Medicare and Medicare eligible insurance, ensuring future retiree health care access.

“We’ve established a good working relationship with AK Steel,” said Eastern Territory Grand Lodge Representative James Smith. “However the Negotiating Committee didn’t take that for granted, utilizing the Negotiations Prep program at the Winpisinger Center to prepare for these talks. Under the leadership of DBR Neil Douglas they came to the table ready to meet the challenge, and made gains in every area of the contract and zero givebacks.”

The new contract goes into effect on September 15, 2014 and expires on March 15, 2018.