HarbisonWalker, workers set to resume contract talks

WINDHAM — Contract talks between HarbisonWalker International and the union representing most of the workers at the company’s local plant are scheduled to resume next week.

Some 80 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565-03 walked off their jobs at midnight Sept. 30 after rejecting the company’s most recent contract offer.

Those employees, members of United Steelworkers Local 8565, had been working under terms of the labor agreement that expired Sept. 15. The two sides are scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Oct. 19.

Workers said they are concerned about several provisions in the company’s latest offer, dated Sept. 28, including one that calls for the pension plan for hourly employees to be frozen, effective Jan. 1, 2020, with no future benefit accruals.

Matt McManus of USW Local 8565 said accepting the pact would set a precedent that would make it easier for the company “to take more from the workers.”

Tribune Chronicle attempts to reach HarbisonWalker, based in Moon Township, Pa., Wednesday were not successful.

Previously, the company said it was disappointed the union voted down two comprehensive proposals since negotiations started. Those contract offers included “wage increases and a continuation of a highly market-competitive benefits package,” the company said.

The company, a supplier of refractory products and services, has said it is willing to continue operating under the terms and conditions of the expired collective bargaining agreement while negotiating a new contract, but has implemented a contingency plan, in full compliance with all labor laws, to fulfill current orders.