PITTSBURGH – Armco/Kawasaki (AK) Steel ended its three-year lockout of over 600 members of the USWA at its Mansfield, Ohio, plant Dec. 10.

In a statement, the USWA hailed the triumph of union members’ solidarity. “The tragedy is that this company took three years to realize it needs the skilled and experienced work of our members to operate its Mansfield facility,” said USWA president Leo W. Gerard.

Ohio steel union director, David McCall, expects an orderly return to work as rapidly as possible that “respects the rights of our members in the contract that they accepted and ratified.”

AK locked out union members on Sept. 1, 1999. The company brought scabs in the back door. Currently, there are about 250 scabs in the mill. McCall said that he trusts that AK will tell scabs to avoid antagonizing union members as they return to work. He has instructed union members to ignore company provocations.

AK conducted a multi-million dollar media campaign to break the USWA in Mansfield. From TV commercials during NFL games, the most expensive time on television, to full newspaper page ads to bill boards, AK fanned sparks against the union, but no fires broke out. The 650 families at USWA 169 held together for 3 long years.

The announcement was made at press time. Details will follow on Dec. 21.

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