WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on Aurora’s Rotek Inc. to end its half year lockout of more than 100 members of the United Steelworkers (USW) and offered his aid so that a fair and equitable agreement could be reached. Rotek locked out members of the USW after its workers overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer that would have immediately cut wages by 10 percent for all employees, and forced concessions to their health care and other benefits.
“I urge Rotek to end this lockout and do everything in its power to reach a deal that’s fair to its workers and the wellbeing of their families,” Brown said. “The United Steelworkers have the experience and skill to produce the highest quality products. With Rotek producing components for both our country’s military and renewable energy sectors, we cannot allow the use of replacement workers to put either at risk. That is why I gladly offer my assistance to Rotek and USW so that they can reach an agreement.”
Brown is concerned that the length of the lockout has already forced workers and their loved ones to experience economic hardship. Brown is also concerned that replacement workers do not have the experience and expertise to make high enough quality products for both the country’s renewable energy production, and most concerning, its military defense.
Rotek is a North American leader in the engineering, manufacturing, service, and support of large diameter slewing bearings and seamless forged rings which are used in parts that produce wind energy and military products.
Brown’s letter can be read in its entirety below:
Dr. Tim Gudszend, President
1400 South Chillicothe Road
Aurora, Ohio 44207
Dear Dr. Gudszend:
It has recently been brought to my attention that your employees represented by the United Steel Workers have been locked out of their jobs for about six months. I’ve been informed that the company took this action after the employees overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer that would have immediately reduced wages of all current employees by more than 10 percent plus other concessions to their health care and other benefits.
Rotek’s success in providing component parts for wind energy as well as products for our military has been a source of pride for Ohio. I have also heard USW President Leo Gerard praise Rotek when he speaks about how his members are producing recyclable, American made energy while providing middle class jobs.
With these points in mind, I ask you to make every effort to return to the bargaining table and reach a fair and equitable agreement. These lengthy disputes have already caused economic hardship for your employees and their families. In addition, I am concerned about the quality of the product that our armed forces depend upon while defending our nation. I am concerned that replacement workers will not have the training and expertise that those who protect our nation deserve.
Your direct involvement is necessary to ensure that we can bring an end to this dispute. I stand ready to help Rotek/ThyssenKrupp and the USW reach an agreement that is fair to all parties and resumes production of your important products. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if I can be of assistance.
United States Senator
Cc: George H. Cohen, Director of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services – Washington DC