Business

Workers at Berkeley’s Pacific Steel accept new contract

Police square off against protestors. Photo: Michelle Vitetta

The strike is over at Pacific Steel Castings in Berkeley.

Workers at one of the largest foundries on the West Coast voted to accept a new contract this morning, according to Elisabeth Jewel, a spokeswoman for the company. She did not provide any details of the agreement and union officials have not yet returned phone calls.

About 470 workers walked out of the plant at midnight Monday March 21 in protest of what they said was an unacceptable contract offer. Pacific Steel had apparently asked workers to pay a larger percentage of their health care costs, which could have amounted to a 10% pay cut.

The workers picketed Pacific Steel’s three facilities on Second Street in Berkeley as well as a warehouse on Fifth Street where the company had placed finished steel goods. Workers tried to stop trucks from leaving the warehouse by taking air out of a tire and forming a human shield. Berkeley police intervened to help trucks get through.


The workers are represented by Local 164B of the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union.

The DelSol family owns Pacific Steel Castings.

Update 15:50: Pacific Steel Casting Company issued a press release which said Pacific Steel workers voted overwhelmingly this morning to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement after both sides made certain concessions regarding employee contributions to health care and pension plans. “We are a family-owned company making tough decisions in order to stay competitive in a global economy,” said Katie Delsol, PSC Executive Director. “We are eager to put the strike behind us and get back to work.” The release added that Pacific Steel Casting Company has been making steel castings in Berkeley since 1934 and is one of the few remaining steel foundries in the country, employing about 550 workers, of which approximately 450 are represented by GMP 164B.

Related:
Negotiations resume in Pacific Steel strike [03.23.11]
Workers from Berkeley’s Pacific Steel go on strike [03.21.11]