Approximately 900 United Steelworker (USW) members of the Rexam Beverage Can North America Co. started two Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strikes Tuesday at 12:01 AM at nine locations after the company rejected counter proposals made by the union on Monday.
The two labor agreements expired on Feb. 24, and the USW members have been working under contract extensions.
The Master agreement covers 730 workers at plants in Chicago, Ill., Phoenix, Ariz., Birmingham, Ala., St. Paul, Minn., Whitehouse, Ohio, Chatsworth, Calif., Bishopville, S.C. and Oklahoma City. A separate agreement covers 170 workers in Winston Salem, N.C.
The employees have twice rejected Rexam’s previous contract proposals by secret ballot referendum votes, the last time on April 4.
“The members have been emphatic in telling us that health care is too costly for both active employees and future retirees and the company has not done enough to meaningfully address their concerns,” said USW International Vice President Fred Redmond, chief negotiator for the union.
“In addition, the company’s conduct at all locations has undermined the bargaining process, making it impossible to reach a settlement that the members will ratify,” he said. “The union will be filing Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.”