Lockout Is Underway At AK Steel - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Lockout Is Underway At AK Steel

Union Spokesman Brian Daley Union Spokesman Brian Daley
A union worker pumps his fist in solidarity A union worker pumps his fist in solidarity
Workers march at an earlier event Workers march at an earlier event

Replacement workers are on the job right now at the AK steel plant in Middletown.

Just after midnight this morning the company locked out it's union workers. Some of the 2,700 union employees immediately hit the picket lines.

Both sides met right up until the midnight deadline when the previous union contract expired. Union members tell FOX19 News the negotiation sticking points were benefits and incentives. The union had threatened to strike at midnight but says late in the negotiation told the company it would continue to work under the old contract.

"There was some progress, but it just wasn't fast enough for the company," said Armco Employees Independent Federation President Brian Daley. "But we continue to move forward, these are major issues, they effect thousands of people, and we plan on doing everything we can to fix them.

Outside of the sprawling facility, union members burn fires in large drums and peer at the plant behind temporary fences that were quickly erected to signify property lines. Union member Mike Retherford said, "they made the decision to lock us out, now they have to run that mill without us. So when they're done destroying it, we'll go back and pick the pieces up."

AK Steel declined to comment yesterday during the final hours of negotiations but union leaders say both sides will continue meeting later today.

Middletown community will feel the hit of a prolonged strike

The work stoppage is a worst case scenario for many Middletown businesses.

One market just across the street from the plant says any given day 75 percent of their business comes from plant employees. They even keep irregular business hours to best serve workers on the late shift.

They expect to feel the pinch right away.

Sherry Kilburn who works at Sloan's Market said, "Well the customers are my paycheck, and I'm trying to get a pay raise not a pay cut."

Other residents say this stoppage will be felt city-wide because just about everyone in Middletown has a family member or friend working at the plant.

Report: FOX19 News

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