As of midnight last night, under the threat of an AEIF (Armco Employees Independent Federation) union strike, AK Steel of Middletown made an aggresive move and locked out its 2700 man labor force. News reports this morning state that the union was willing to continue working last night and until a new agreement could be reached. They suggested continuing under the terms of the old agreement, but AK reportedly rejected that offer and chose to lock out the employees instead. AK Steel has a history of long lockouts so I would be surprised if this ended quickly. The company reportedly spent $6 million dollars to train temporary workers and salaried employees to continue operations in preparation for the work stoppage. AK steel is said to be looking for a “competitive labor agreement” and it sounds to me like they are not going to give many concessions.
Normally I don’t side with unions (more on this later), but in this case because of my friends and family I have to side with the AEIF. Having been born and raised in Middletown (and still living a 10-minute drive from there) - repurcussions of a long lockout could have a significant effect on my life. I have a brother, a brother in-law, and a couple of uncles who work at AK and are part of that union. Another uncle is an employee for a major contractor for AK. Many, many of my friends and friends-of-friends work for AK and are members of the union.
Hopefully AK Steel and the AEIF can get things settled soon.