New Bedford City Council Supports Striking Steelworkers
NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford City Council voted 9-0 Thursday to send a letter to Allegheny Technology Inc., to express solidarity with the Pennsylvania-based metal company's striking workers in New Bedford.
Ward 3 Councilor Hugh Dunn, the motion's sponsor, described ATI as a "frequent offender" in New Bedford that "is constantly taking and taking and taking from its employees." He called on the council, and Mayor Jon Mitchell, to stand up for the company's labor force in New Bedford.
For several months now, dozens of unionized ATI employees in New Bedford have been striking to protest ATI's offers in contract negotiations for 2021 through 2024. The local members of United Steelworkers have been picketing outside ATI on Rodney French Boulevard to call for wage increases and a fair contract.
Councilor-at-Large Brian K. Gomes, who spoke in support of Dunn's motion, said the recent labor dispute was not the city's "first rodeo" with ATI and how it treats its employees. Gomes said the company "paints a pretty picture of what they do, but really they keep just taking from their employees."
Said Gomes, "That is part of our labor force in the City of New Bedford, and they deserve a fair contract."
In the motion, the city council expresses its support for ATI's workers, who have not had a wage increase since 2014. The council also urges the company "to honor its commitments" to offer the employees healthcare that is not overly burdensome in cost to the employee.
"We want to see a fair contract for the workers at ATI and an end to the over three month long strike; and further, we want to see ATI succeed and continue to create jobs in New Bedford, and believe that resolving this contract negotiation as soon as possible is the best way to move forward," the motion states.
Councilors Deborah Coelho and Derek Baptiste were not present for the virtual vote.