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Vote set on strike authorization

The union representing workers at Luvata Buffalo will hold a strike authorization vote this weekend, as contract talks with the company continue.

Members of United Steel Workers Local 593 will vote at 10 a.m. Sunday at the union hall at 425 Military Road.

A vote in favor of strike authorization would not necessarily mean workers will go on strike. Instead, it gives the union's leaders the ability to call a walkout if they decide that step is necessary.

A one-year extension of the previous labor agreement between the union and the company will expire March 31. Talks on a new a contract are ongoing.

"I think they've been progressing as normal and usual," said Jack Alonge, Luvata's director of human resources.

Steelworkers Local 593's president, Jeff Karcher, could not be reached to comment Friday.

Alonge said he views the union's strike authorization vote as something routine and not unexpected. "I understand it as a something they have to do," he said, adding that he was optimistic the two sides will be able to reach an agreement on a contract.

Workers have voted in favor of strike authorization before some previous labor contracts were approved, including in 2007. But the the plant's work force has not gone on strike since 1984.

UAW Local 593 represents about 450 members. The North Buffalo copper and brass plant, located on Sayre Street, also has about 120 salaried employees. The site was previously known as Outokumpu American Brass.

Outokumpu sold its global copper operations, including the Buffalo plant, to Swedish investment group Nordic Capital in 2005. The operations were named Luvata the following year.


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