LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — United Steelworkers and Arconic have one more day to negotiate a new labor contract.
USW said the bargaining process has been slow and difficult so far. Arconic is demanding health care and pension concessions while union workers fight for fairness.
United Steelworkers are keeping members up to date as negotiations heat up with Arconic.
"They're trying for a race to the bottom and we're just trying to maintain," said USW Local 115 Executive Board Member Marty Townsend.
Arconic wants to freeze benefits under the current hourly pension and replace them with age-based contributions to the 401(k) savings plan.
"It's not fair, there's a lot of people that have worked there for anywhere from 10-40 years that if you get guys at a certain age, it'll just ruin their retirement plans," said Townsend.
Arconic is demanding cuts in medical and drug benefits as well as increases in employee health care contributions. The proposal reduces the premiums for single employees but increases family premiums by $120 per month.
"I don't know anybody that's got an extra $120 a month," said Townsend.
Townsend is ready to fight for what's fair.
"We would love to have support from the community," said Townsend.
On Wednesday, the public is invited to rally outside Arconic starting at eight in the morning and lunch will be around one in the afternoon.
"We've got banners, we've got signs, we've got a tent set up," said Townsend.
Even if you don't know any union workers, Townsend says you're benefiting from them.
"We spend a lot of money in the community and if those jobs aren't there and something happens, it would be a big strain on the economy," said Townsend.
He hopes Arconic and USW will work things out by Wednesday's 11:59 p.m. deadline but if not, a strike isn't out of the question.
"I'm cautiously optimistic, I hope we can come to an agreement that's fair," said Townsend.
We asked Arconic to comment on this story.
"Arconic is continuing to negotiate in good faith with our USW counterparts to reach a fair contract," said Cary Dell, Arconic spokesperson.
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