CLAIRTON (KDKA) -- Several hundred steelworkers gathered outside the Clairton Coke Works union hall Thursday, a solidarity rally to urge the U.S. Steel Corporation to step up its game over contract negotiations now underway.
"We expect this time around for us to be paid back for our sacrifices that we've made over the past three years," said Don Furko, the USW local president for the Clairton Coke Works.
Furko told KDKA money editor Jon Delano that the steel industry is doing better, so it's payback time.
Delano: "You went three years without a pay raise?"
Furko: "That's correct. Yes sir."
Delano: "And now you want your fair share?"
Furko: "Absolutely. They've got no problem giving themselves raises, and we're lagging behind every other sector in the country."
John Gornall, the USW president for the Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock, says the steelworkers mean business.
"We've stuck by this company and took concessions so they could keep running and stay afloat, and it's about time we got our fair share," said Gornall.
More than 16,000 steelworkers work for U.S. Steel across the country, and their contract expires this Saturday, Sept. 1.
The real question is when this contract expires on Saturday, are the steelworkers prepared to go on strike?
KDKA talked to a number of members here who say, absolutely.
"My members are ready to strike," said Furko.
"We're prepared to go on strike if that's what it takes," added Gornall.
Says U.S. Steel spokesperson Meghan Cox: "Talks have been ongoing, and we will work diligently to keep bargaining in good faith to reach an agreement. At this point, we are unaware of any strike authorization vote taken by the USW."
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