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STEELWORKERS AT LUKENS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVE NEW CONTRACT ENDING STRIKE

STEELWORKERS AT LUKENS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVE NEW CONTRACT ENDING STRIKE
 COATESVILLE, Pa., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- By a better than 10 to 1 margin, members of United Steelworkers of America Local Union 1165 approved a new 4-year agreement with the Lukens Steel Company today, ending a 105-day strike at the company.
 The final vote was 978 in favor of the new agreement to 95 against, or 91 percent to 9 percent. Six ballots were void.
 "This is the final chapter in a long and hard struggle for the members of this Local Union," said Harry Haines, president of Local 1165.
 "The agreement ratified today is the kind of honorable, reasonable contract we've been seeking from the beginning of our negotiations with Lukens," Haines said. "It's a tremendous victory for the members, their families, our communities, and our union."
 "The members really showed something," said Haines. "They stuck it out longer than most people thought they would -- particularly Lukens.
 "I don't believe the company would have forced this strike if it had ever expected that we would fight so long, and be so successful in the end," Haines said.
 The contract approved today calls for wage increases of $2.50 over the life of the agreement, and the best pension package in the steel industry, including vastly increased payments for 30-and-out pensions.
 The pact also includes improved health and insurance benefits for active and retired workers, minimum payments of $200 for surviving spouses, successorship language and more.
 The strike began at midnight of Oct. 1, 1991, after Lukens waited until 6 hours before the contract expired to present its first full proposal to the union. That proposal was rejected by the union membership by a 3-1 margin in October.
 "The solidarity of the members, their families, and this whole community was absolutely incredible," said Haines "even though Lukens really put the pressure on them, particularly at the beginning.
 "But it became clear as the dispute progressed that no matter what the company said or did or threatened," Haines said, "these people were sticking together and sticking with their union. I'm damn proud of them.
 "One of the best indicators of the incredible solidarity of these members is the number of people who signed up for the Steelworkers' Political Action Committee," said Haines. "We had over 900 people -- more than 70 percent of our membership -- sign PAC check-off cards in one day. That's unprecedented in this international union, so far as I know.
 "And it shows that the solidarity the members of this union have built over the last 16 weeks has only just begun to make its presence felt in the community and in the plant," said Haines.
 "When we walk back into that mill, our heads will be held high," said Haines. "Because we're walking back in together, with one of the best labor agreements in the steal industry."
 -0- 1/13/92
 /CONTACT: Phil Smith, 202-331-3700, or USWA Communications, 412-562-2442/ CO: United Steelworkers of America Local Union 1165; Lukens Steel Co. ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU: CON


PS -- NY091 -- 9307 01/13/92 21:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 13, 1992
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