Tag Archives: Elisabeth Jewel

Local business

West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel files for bankruptcy

Pacific Steel Casting Plant. Photo: Michael Layefsky
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Pacific Steel Castings, based in west Berkeley since 1934, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Oakland on Monday. Pacific Steel, one of the largest independent steel casting companies in the U.S., has 410 employees in three separate plants at the eight-acre site off Gilman Street. There are no immediate layoffs or interruptions in payment of wages or pensions.

The company hopes the bankruptcy proceedings will enable it to restructure its liabilities and remain in operation, possibly under a different owner from the Genger family which is in its fourth generation of ownership. Pacific Steel makes carbon, low-alloy and stainless steel castings for U.S. and international customers, largely for heavy-duty trucks and construction equipment.  … Continue reading »

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200 undocumented Pacific Steel workers lose their jobs

In March, workers briefly went out on strike against Pacific Steel
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This is not going to be a Merry Christmas for many of the workers at Pacific Steel.

After a recent crackdown by the Department of Homeland Security, 200 workers who could not provide a valid social security number are being laid off.

Those let go from the third largest foundry in the United States include many highly skilled workers who have been at the company for decades.

“It’s very sad,” said spokeswoman Elisabeth Jewel from the firm Aroner, Jewel & Ellis Partners. “The employees who are being terminated now have the most seniority. Many have been there 20 to 30 years. They have kids in the public school. They pay taxes. They are fully invested in American life. It’s been a really wrenching situation – obviously for the workers – but also for the company.”

In February, Pacific Steel, which was founded in Berkeley in 1934 by the Genger family and is still family-owned, got a request by ICE, the US Immigration and Customs Authority, an agency within Homeland Security, to examine I-9 documents, said Jewel. The department came back and reported that the social security numbers of 200 of the company’s 600 workers didn’t match up.

The employees were given a chance to provide new documentation to prove they were legally working in the US. Only a few were able to do that, said Jewel. … Continue reading »

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Negotiations resume in Pacific Steel strike

Police square off against protestors. Photo: Michelle Vitetta
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The two clashing sides in the Pacific Steel Casting strike returned to the bargaining table on Wednesday, a day after Berkeley police resorted to tough tactics to push back a group of strikers from a warehouse on Fifth Street.

On Tuesday, about 100 strikers gathered outside a warehouse to prevent a truck filled with parts from the Pacific Steel foundry from leaving. Police attempted to clear away the protesters and a pregnant woman claimed she was struck in the stomach by an officer during the confrontation, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police Department. She was treated at a local hospital and released.

“Today at a couple points, CMT (Crowd Management Team) members were asking the crowd/picketers to move back, stop blocking the roadway and the entrance to the shipping/freight business,” Sgt. Kusmiss wrote in a press release. “The crowd was asked to get back and many warnings were given. Each time a member of a skirmish line moves forward as a group, they are trained to say, “Move!, Step Back. Move.!” Force was used. A woman (who shared that she was pregnant) was at the front of the crowd and was pushed back on the shoulder a couple times by a CMT member. The crowd began to surge and the woman said she was struck in the stomach by an officer.”

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Workers from Berkeley’s Pacific Steel go on strike

Workers on strike against Pacific Steel. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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About 470 workers at the Pacific Steel Casting plant went on strike around midnight Monday to protest what they characterized as unfair take-backs by the foundry’s management.

After talks broke down between the owners of Pacific Steel and representatives from Local 164B of the Glass, Molders, and Pottery Union, scores of workers set up pickets in front of the company’s plants on Second Street near Gilman and at a warehouse on Fifth Street.

“We are on strike as of today,” said Carlos Costa, the local rep for the GMP union. “The company gave us a proposition and it was a really bad proposition. The vote was 99 to 1 to reject the proposition and 99 to 1 to go on strike.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Patients Group owes $6.4 million in back taxes

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Berkeley Patients Group (BPG), the city’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, owes more than $6.4 million in back taxes and interest, according to the state’s Board of Equalization (BOE). The BOE confirmed their original assessment of taxes at its meeting in Sacramento this week. Berkeleyside revealed the tax dispute earlier this month.

Elisabeth Jewel, the lawyer lobbyist representing BPG in the case, told Berkeleyside that the group will apply to the BOE’s “offer in compromise” program. “There’s no way that Berkeley Patients Group can pay $6 million in taxes,” she said. “The purpose of the offer in compromise program is to come up with a plan that keeps a taxpayer in business.”

Jewel said that the BOE made clear in its hearing this week that it wanted to find a way to keep BPG solvent. The BPG application will be made soon, according to Jewel. … Continue reading »

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