Vallourec vote stirs up controversy

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Two Vallourec Star employees said they don’t think this week’s vote to join the United Electrical Workers Union is going to pass.

More than 500 employees at the Youngstown facility vote this week on whether to join the electrical union.

‘A lot of people really love what they do, and don’t want to see a union come in and take a chance on ruining that,” said Mike Boyle, a Vallourec Star employee against joining the union.

“The two tier system is a lie,” said Mike Boyle, mill employee.

Boyle, isn’t happy with some of the information the union has in some of its pamphlets.

“If a union comes in we have a chance to lose a lot,” said Boyle.

He and another employee– who asked we not identify him – tell First News they think there won’t be enough votes to unionize. The issue has failed before.

Both are recent hires at the Youngstown facility. Employees who want to see a union come in say there is a two tier system when it comes to pay. They say the days of passing a probationary period and making the same rate as everyone else is gone because new hires have to learn multiple jobs. Boyle doesn’t see it that way– saying policies and machinery change with time.

“We’re going to be making the smaount as somebody else is going to be making that’s already been there. We just have to do certain steps,”said Boyle.

The men told WKBN First New there are great benefits and programs at the company.

“We don’t need to pay anybody to represent us, the unnamed man said. “I believe hard work and work ethic will speak for us.”

Union supporters claim there is a two tier wage system at the mill, pensions have been frozen and the Sunday premium for 12 hour shift workers doesn’t exist anymore.

“A lot of these people supporting it have worked there about 20-26 years and they have done it without a union and they’re living comfortable lives. What has changed why do they need it now,?” said Boyle.

“They want one voice. Well, I mean people have had that voice here at Vallourec and have done it without a union, I don’t see the need for it.”

Saturday, two union Vallourec workers from France came to show their support. An employee WKBN First News talked with doesn’t see the value in the visit.

“Why would you bring guys in froma different country? It’s a different government, different rules and regulations, a different union, so how can they benefit us here,” said Boyle.

Both men say they haven’t witnessed any anti-union activity from the company. Vallourec released a statement saying it respects employees opinions for and against the union— but doesn’t think a union will add value to the company.

“A union is a business just as Vallourec is a business so they need money to function just as Vallourec does,” said Boyle.

Boyle says support from all over is pouring in on stop unions dot com. Vallourec is on the front page. He encourages employees to do some research before voting this week.

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