Contract negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with Lehigh Hanson began back in August with Local 8-00031 Union Bridge Md., 108 Leeds Al., 10-00179 York Pa. in Pittsburgh Pa.

The current agreement expired October 19, 2016 and the parties have signed an extension until January 31, 2017. During this extension, the conditions of the previous contract apply. Your local bargaining committee has been in local negotiations on subjects specific to the Mitchell facility in between the Master negotiations with the big 4.

The main issue as is common in most negotiations is healthcare and cost sharing in the plan and its design. Lehigh has proposed paying a fixed cost in each year of an agreement, which would pass any additional costs on to its employees. The Steelworker Health and Welfare fund that you are currently on is a fully funded plan which means there is a fixed monthly cost for the plan and currently bargaining unit members pay 20% of that monthly cost and Lehigh pays 80%. With a fixed cost proposal, the percentage increase to bargaining unit members is unsustainable. Your monthly premiums would rise to unaffordable levels for our members. The current plan you have today is intended to provide stability and security for you and your families and is not something that is just given but something that is earned in a very demanding and dangerous industry. No one should sit on the sidelines and take for granted the importance of standing together to protect your benefits and wages.

Lehigh Hansen is a very profitable company with high interest in any infrastructure plans that may be forthcoming and the need to build new facilities. They took away many of the benefits such as defined pensions, contracting out security language and yes there were increases to cost sharing to healthcare in the previous contract.

Members of Local 7-0030 provide many hours of labor to produce a world class product so that Lehigh Hansen can be profitable and remain competitive in the world market. We all want Lehigh Hansen to be successful, but success starts with taking care of the employees who are responsible for any successes.

Now is the time for all Members of Local 7-0030 to stand for the principles of fairness and expect Lehigh Hansen to provide you and your families with living wages and quality benefits.

In Solidarity,

Local 7-0030 Bargaining Committee