Tag Archives: Pacific Steel Casting

5 Berkeley stories you won’t want to miss

Inti and Pedro Carrasco. Inti is 6 months old. His name means sun in Quechuan. Pedro: “I’m from Peru and I like my culture. They were very smart. I want to show my son where I come from and teach him how to speak Quechuan. Me: “What hopes to you have for your son Inti?” “I would like him to be multilingual so he could help other immigrants.”
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Each week, Berkeleyside publishes dozens of articles about what’s going on in Berkeley. You’re busy — some of them might have passed you by. Here are five stories, including the photo feature indicated above, we think you’ll want to catch up on. 

2. Neighbors nix a new Starbucks opening in Berkeley

There will be no grande frappuccinos for local residents, and nearby Alta Bates employees and patients, after the sheer persistence of local residents and business owners saw … Continue reading »

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Local business

West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel files for bankruptcy

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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Peaceful Pacific Steel protest ends at west Berkeley plant

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[View the story "Pacific Steel protesters rally, march peacefully in Berkeley" on Storify]

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Hundreds rally in Berkeley to protest Pacific Steel layoffs

Several hundred people gathered at Old City Hall for a rally before the protest march. Photo: Lance Knobel
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On a bright, sunny day, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of Berkeley’s Old City Hall to rally against the immigration laws that prompted the firing of 200 Pacific Steel Casting workers in December last year. Many of the fired workers and their families were joined by members of the teachers’ union, the nurses’ union, clergymen and women and other sympathizers. Following the rally, protesters were to march to the Pacific Steel site in west Berkeley.

Last February, the Department of Homeland Security demanded I-9 forms for all 600 employees of the family-owned steel casting business in West Berkeley. The company and the GMP union worked together to keep workers employed while the DHS examined their residency status. In October, Pacific Steel began to lay off the 200 workers.

“I worked for Pacific Steel for seven years and I was one of the 200 fired,” said Jesus Prado at the rally this morning. “This March for Dignity is because we want to stop the way they’re stepping on us, and treating us like criminals. We came here to work.” … Continue reading »

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Pay raise, no added health costs in Pacific Steel contract

Workers at Pacific Steel strike. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The workers at Pacific Steel Casting won’t have to make new co-payments for their health insurance, according to details of a new contract released today by the union.

After a strike last week, the company and members of Local 164B of the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union agreed to a new four-year contact that will give the 461 workers a $3.78 per hour wage increase, according to Ignacio De La Fuente, the vice-president of the union. The company will increase the hourly rate by 75 cents over four years and also pay 44 cents more per hour toward the workers’ pension plans.

Most importantly, the company will continue to pay 100% of employee health benefits, said De La Fuente. The workers had gone out on strike March 21 because the company had been asking them to pay as much as 10% of their salaries toward health care. … Continue reading »

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Workers at Berkeley’s Pacific Steel accept new contract

Pacific Steel strike
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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. … 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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