By NR Staff • 

Negotiations continuing at steel mill

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I wish I had one of those high paying jobs. They are crazy not going to work over this. I bet there are hundreds of people around Yamhill County that would love to go to work there.


My dad has been with the mill for nearly 25 years. I can say for at least him that not everyone wants to strike. Some people would like to go back to work to continue supporting themselves and their families.

troy prouty

I think it's foolish to strike when the company is struggling and have been laying people off. I'm not sure they are going to like the longer term conseqences of this.

Troy Prouty*


Cost of living is going up, and their benefits aren't keeping up. They are paying more for insurance, food, gas, mortgage, etc. The economy isn't getting better and the company should know that. Cascade Still Rolling Mills has been profiting for the past years. They have the money, this is just a company not willing to split a piece of the pie. I don't have family who works at this company, but I do know of some people. They might have a higher salary than the average McMinnville worker, but they are at risk of danger more than others, at times. This company obviously knows it loses money when the mill is "off." I do believe most workers don't want to strike, nobody wins when there is a strike.

Colins monny

I would say that most of the people that work there are grateful for their jobs and do NOT want to strike. It is my opinion that the person representing all of those workers is trying to stretch his muscles because he's in jeopardy of losing his union title. He's had his own agenda for awhile now and this seems like his chance to prove his worth. These workers want to continue feeding there families under a solid roof. And have good running vehicles to get them where they need to be. God bless.


I think Colins monny hit the nail on the head.


Union reps often do not represent the feelings of the members. But, the way intimidation works (bullying) the members are not in a good position to speak up against the union.


Too bad as Schnitzer hasn't made a profit from Cascade in years due to the economy but continues to operate without asking workers for a pay cut. There are hundreds that would love to have those jobs but imagine this is yet another example of unions doing what's good for the union and not the workers...


"Cost of living is going up, and their benefits aren't keeping up. They are paying more for insurance, food, gas, mortgage, etc. The economy isn't getting better and the company should know that"

Well, wake up, this is not only true for the mill workers, it's true for all of us, even without pay cuts many of us are taking home less money because we have to pay more for benefits, and everything else. Companies are scared about the future and need to be conservative, yes, that is unfortunate for the rest of us but it's the truth right now.

I know hundreds of people apply when there are only a hand-full of openings - if the mill workers think they can do better somewhere else, I challenge them to go ahead and try. Unless they are strking because their health and life is at risk, I say go back to work....Geez, right now we need to be thankful we even have a job.


Yes, Colins did hit the nail on the head as well as Obie! What this local union does not realize is that they should just be thankful the Schnitzer family / company is keeping Cascade Steel running, not to mention the benefits they give the workers there! I heard so many of them complain about those benefits before yet a good number of them have never worked anywhere else so how would they even know?! Besides, if it's so great elsewhere why not pack up and go there???!! Bad enough they have to work in a "closed shop" where it's be part of the union or you don't have a job, but to have that union's leadership encourage a strike to hurt the company that feeds them like this is just plain pathetic! High time for new leadership on the union side who knows how to help create true win/win scenarios for both the workers AND the company!! $.02

bottom line why don't you work there? My husband has worked there 20 years. He has worked crazy shifts..long 12 plus hours..he has come home with cuts..burns..drenched in sweat from the extreme heat..110 decible noise head aches..and yes ph50 he wears the correct protective gear. He has watched his so so insurance go from bad to worse and his wages froze. He is a war vet..not some guy who is not grateful for what he has or is lazy. To be treated fairly is what they are asking for..your ignorance is shameful..I am proud of my husband and all who work there. They deserve better. He is proud they have a voice.


Sorry "bottom line" but US Benefits is better than far too many of the people working there give it credit for! Yes, I do have first hand knowledge / experience with them and can also say that they are better than many federal program choices even. I'm not too surprised to hear folks saying it went from "bad to worse" though since they actually had to start paying for some of their premiums heaven forbid.


Unless you stand on the inner circle of these two sides,It is hard to know the facts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I hope the best for all.

bottom line

That's very thoughtful of you nimbwhitib...thanks for that.


To all the people who are judging these guys at the mill, I URGE you to get the facts first. The reason these guys get a living wage is because they have fought tooth and nail for it. This is what they are doing now, trying to retain their wages, which Cascade Steel is trying to take away, along with all the benefits they have fought so hard for. If you do not support them, you could very well end up with their dangerous, life threatning jobs, but you will be doing it for minimum wage, plus a MANDATORY 16 hour workday. Please I URGE you to support them in their attempt to keep their jobs. PLEASE don't judge them until you get all the facts.



Those are pretty flimsy facts. Exactly what is the decrease in wages being proposed? Exactly what is the decrease in benefits being proposed? Exactly what is the decrease in working conditions being proposed? Until you answer those questions, you are just making a straw man argument that is of no value. No one will be working at Cascade for minimum wage. No one will be working a MANDATORY 16 hour workday. How hard did these people fight for these wages and benefits? Do you call walking off the job as "fighting hard"?

These employees get a "living wage" because the value of their job is at a "living wage" level. Wage levels change if the value of the job decreases for the employer. Sometimes that level decreases.


Edited to correct: According to the union, the company is seeking a four-year wage freeze, a doubling of the current 10 percent employee health insurance contribution and various working condition concessions. The company says it is not seeking a rollback in wages, but has not divulged specifics of what it is seeking. We just have the union word on that.

Steve Bagwell, Managing Editor


Thank you.

You said, "We just have the union word on that".

Good luck with that.

just me

As an union worker i do have a few things to say here, first of all, What Mr. Dyck says about handing out a letter to workers monday morning is not true, i was working that day and the letter he is referring to was not handed out until after 630 pm after the day shift had finished the shift, and he was even late in doing that, and not willing to look people in the eye while handing it out. To those of you that have never worked there i ask how can you comment on working conditions when you dont know them? have you ever had to walk on rebar that is anywhere from 400 to 600 degrees in the dead of summer? have you had to sit in a stiffling heat with no air movement in the same conditions? how about hexavalant chrome? how many of you have to inhale this? do a little research on the affects of hex chrome and what it has done to some of our national guard troops over seas. in the winter we have to be standing on the same product when its below freezing with wind and rain or snow blowing into the warehouses with no shelter. this leads to illnesses and fatigue. do any you have the high noises we deal with such as the furnace arcing or the cooling fans running louder than standing next to a revving jet engine? my children have seen me come home with cuts and burns, my feet dried out from walking on the product, dehydrated and exhausted. the union went to the company in 2010 and offered an extension and no pay raise for a year when the economy was still bad and the company accepted, in early 2009 the union agreed to rolling layoffs instead of a full mass layoff so people could keep their medical benifits but some people seem to forget that, such as the company. cascade made roughly $9 million profit in the last year, but now they want to treat us as if we are the equipment and not the brain and brawn that made that possible. we just want to be treated fairly. we dont want to strike, but sometimes a strike is the only way to get the companies attention.


Well said Just Me!!!

@ Kona, like we can believe anything that comes out of the company's mouth. 13 proposals later, and all of them just to the company's benefit is not bargaining in good faith. Make realistic proposals and maybe we'll get somewhere. Make a stand and fight. Don't just accept a rotten contract because "we're lucky to have a job."

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