Haynes Workers Picket for First Contract
Demonstrating their demand for a first labor contract, two dozen members of the United Steelworkers (USW) local at Haynes International’s Tubular Products plant in Arcadia, La., set up a picket line Wednesday.
The group picketed in front of the plant for nearly half an hour, ignoring an order from a company guard that they leave. At one point, the guard pointed at bargaining committee chair David Bradford and said, “You, come here!” Bradford and union brothers from the Arcadia stood their ground and finished their picket.
Members know the picket was effective for two reasons. One is they witnessed members of management leave the building to find out what was going on. The other is that after the picket, a fellow worker called the group to say he wanted to join the union. Louisiana is a right-to-work (for less) state where workers are not required to join the union at their employers or pay dues that cover the cost of union services.
USW members from Local 1505 at Graphic Packaging stood in solidarity with the Arcadia workers during the picket.
In September of 2010, the workers at Haynes Arcadia voted more than 2 to 1 for union representation. Since then, for 17 months, Haynes has refused to settle a first contract with the local. Most recently, Haynes rebuffed all attempts by the workers to schedule bargaining in February and March.
Haynes recently contended that “the negotiating process is causing delays” in delivery and production. At the same time, however, it reported to shareholders in its proxy statement on Jan. 27, 2012:
“Our manufacturing group shipped a record 23.6 million pounds of product. We also implemented a “supermarket pull system: to increase efficiency in high volume products and identified and reduced bottlenecks in critical operations.”
Workers have identified the real cause of delays – it’s Haynes negotiator Jean Neel.