About 90 union employees at Langeloth Metallurgical Co. are in the 80th day of a strike in Smith Township. They are members of United Auto Workers Local 1311, and they walked out Sept. 9 in a dispute over seniority rights, which enable workers with the longest service time to get priority when certain jobs are available.

Picket lines are up in front of the gates in the Langeloth section of the township.

There is a sliver of hope, however. Local president Jim Hall said talks with the company are scheduled for Dec. 5. The company did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Hall and his brethren are in a thankful mood this Thanksgiving week. Hall called the Observer-Reporter on Monday to express the local’s gratitude to “all labor unions” that have supported his local, including the AFL-CIO for donating $5,000 in gift cards to UAW members. He also praised residents of the tri-state for standing behind them figuratively.

“It’s been astronomical what the community has done for us, whether it’s been delivering food, water and hot food or just blowing their horns,” he said. “Their support has been tremendous.”

Hall also issued a strike-related statement, which says: “For decades, LMC and UAW had worked together to make this company profitable, and as well as job security of Local 1311 members over many contracts, our seniority, workers rights and dignity were honored and respected.

“Through this process, management at LMC has taken a different approach where they have proposed to disrespect our seniority and dignity. LMC will portray that they support our community, but they cannot respect their workers’ dignity. Our members, which are coaches, community activists, church members and taxpayers, deserve to have dignity in the workplace and their seniority respected. Local 1311 and the UAW have been standing up for their workplace, dignity and seniority since the work stoppage began 9/9/2019.

“We will continue to fight for these rights that have taken many, many years to bargain.”

The day after the strike began nearly three months ago, union member Bernie Froaps told the Observer-Reporter that Local 1311’s executive committee rejected the company’s “last, best and final offer” on Aug. 8. He said the union had to wait 30 days before beginning a work stoppage.

Langeloth Metallurgical, a subsidiary of Thompson Creek Metals, employs about 130, including 40 who are salaried.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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