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NLRB challenges ATI’s lockout as illegal

Allegheny Technologies Inc.’s four-month lockout of about 2,200 employees, including roughly 40 at its Lockport plant, faces a legal challenge.

The National Labor Relations Board’s regional director in Pittsburgh told ATI and the Steelworkers union it will issue a complaint alleging the lockout is illegal. Pittsburgh-based ATI, which makes specialty metals and components, began the lockout Aug. 15.

The NLRB’s communications office said it does not yet know when the complaint will be issued. But once it is issued, the case will head to a trial before an administrative law judge. The NLRB also noted a settlement is still being pursued.

“We are delighted that the regional director agreed with us on every major point that we made,” said Tom Conway, Steelworkers vice president, in a statement. The Steelworkers filed unfair labor practice charges against ATI with the NLRB.

The Steelworkers union said the remedy for violations of the National Labor Relations Act would be to require ATI to “make whole” the 2,200 locked-out workers for any losses since the lockout began, including wages and benefits, and to require the company to bargain a new contract in good faith. Their most recent contract expired in June.

Dan Greenfield, an ATI spokesman, said the company has “acted properly throughout these negotiations,” and that ATI looked forward to presenting its evidence.

“The decision by the NLRB to issue a complaint is not a final decision that any of the union’s allegations have legal or factual merit,” Greenfield said. “Rather, it is a procedural step in the legal process.”