Union vote goes down at Vallourec

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) — The vote count is in and workers at Vallourec Star in Girard will not have union representation.

The vote count came in at 148 in favor and 367 against joining the United Electrical Workers Union.

The 500 employees at the Girard facility cast their ballots beginning on Tuesday. The final count took place Thursday morning. The election was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board and was one of the largest union votes in an industrial workplace in Ohio in several years.

Disappointed union supporters said they expected to have at least 200 votes. Anti-union supporters said the people have spoken.

Despite the vote, both sides commended each other on their campaign and said the outcome will not change their work performance.

“My work ethic is still the same as it’s always been and none of that’s going to change,” said union supporter Bill Allen.

“Nobody is going to rub it in to anybody. This was about people’s lives and about a long future everybody wants to have here,” said anti-union supporter Mike Boyle.

Both union representatives and officials with Vallourec launched campaigns over the past several weeks hoping to sway the employees.

Employees pushing for union representation said they wanted to see a change with what they called a two-tier pay structure, job duties, probationary periods and training, saying new hires must learn multiple jobs.They also wanted to reinstate premium pay for Sunday work hours, among other issues.

Company officials contend that policies, machinery and processes change with time encouraging flexibility.

In a statement released Thursday, Vallourec Star officials stated they are “proud” of the their on-going investment in their employees and the local community.

“(We) will continue to provide a safe and respectful workplace where pay and benefits programs remain some of the best in the valley and surrounding areas. Our commitment to our employees and to the local community has been, is and will continue to be our culture,” the release stated.

United Electrical Workers International Representative Karen Hardin said after the vote that their work is not done at the Girard plant.

“We will be back. This is not over. We did not have the resources or the time with the employees that the company had. Had we the same amount of time to address the workers the outcome may have been different,” said Hardin. “We ran an honest campaign.”

Another union vote cannot take place at the plant for one year.

More than 80 percent of Vallourec’s 23,000 workers worldwide are represented by unions.

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