WARREN - About 30 sign-carrying steelworkers gathered Wednesday outside the ArcelorMittal coke plant.
The informational picket was meant not as a work stoppage, but rather to draw attention to their lack of a contract, laborers said.
ArcelorMittal employees and members of the United Steelworkers have been at the table for more than 10 weeks but still have had no success at negotiating a new labor contract. The existing pact expired Saturday night.
The South Main Street plant employees about 130 hourly workers.
"Every time we think we are making progress, we take three steps backwards,'' said United Steelworkers District 1 subdistrict director Gary Steinbeck. "It's been a crazy 10 weeks and we are just not quite sure what the company is trying to do at the bargaining table."
Company officials have not responded to requests for interviews.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
United Steelworkers hold an informational picket Wednesday afternoon in front of ArcelorMittal Warren coke plant along Warren Austintown Road. Negotiations continue on a new contract to replace one that expired Saturday.
Previously, ArcelorMittal officials said they are in continuous negotiations. They have declined to comment on the issues surrounding the sticking points.
United Steelworkers Local 1375 members have said the sticking points focus more on pensions, health care and retiree benefits and less on salary.
Steinbeck said last week's tentative contract reached between United Steelworkers negotiators and U.S. Steel employees gives them optimism.
"That gave us optimism because they are going to set a pattern for the industry,'' Steinbeck said. "It's a good contract. We think it will get ratified."
Steelworkers on the picket line Wednesday said they do not expect a work stoppage and will continue to negotiate until they reach a contract.
"We will stay as long as it takes," Steinbeck said. "There is no plan for any kind of work stoppage."