Tag Archives: Pacific Steel Casting

Local business

West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel sold to equity firm

Pacific Steel Casting Plant. Photo: Michael Layefsky
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West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel Casting, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, is slated to be sold to a private equity firm for $11.3 million, according to the Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review.

Monday, a judge in Oakland approved the offer from Speyside Equity to purchase the steel parts manufacturing plant. A Pacific Steel spokeswoman told Berkeleyside on Thursday that there had been no other offers.

Read past Berkeleyside coverage regarding Pacific Steel.

Pacific Steel attorney Julie Rome-Banks said in court papers that the company employs 410 people, Dow Jones reported. The company was up for auction earlier this month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Oakland.Continue reading »

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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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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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Pacific Steel accused of labor violations in lawsuit

A former worker for Pacific Steel filed a $31 million lawsuit against the foundry on Friday, accusing management of breaking labor laws by not giving workers a break after six hours of work.

Timothy P. Rumberger, a Berkeley attorney, filed the class action lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court on behalf of Roberto Rodriguez and 1,000 other workers. Rodriguez had worked at Pacific Steel for 45 years.

At a news conference in front of the foundry on Friday, Rumberger said California labor law requires companies to give employees a 30-minute break after working for six hours. Pacific Steel had negotiated a break at 11:30 am for workers who arrived at 5 am — which is longer than the law permits, said Rumberger.

When Rodriguez would complain, his managers would tell him he could always leave, he said on Friday. … 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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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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