About 325 members of the United Steelworkers of America, Local 8319, who have been on strike against AMAX Magnesium Corp. for six days, were to meet in Magna Friday afternoon to consider ratifying a new contract.
If the rank and file members ratify the agreement, they could return to work almost immediately and end a strike that has been punctuated by rock-throwing, tire slashing and people following AMAX officials when they reported for work at the magnesium plant on the west side of the Great Salt Lake.Don Collard, a staff representative of the local, said union and company negotiators met with a federal mediator Thursday night and early Friday in the Nendels Motor Inn in an attempt to end the strike. Then company and union negotiators met and exchanged documents. Collard declined to talk about the agreement until the ratification vote is taken.
Company officials gave the workers an ultimatum that if they didn't return to work beginning with the midnight shift Thursday the company would hire replacements.
Collard said the workers didn't report for work, and company officials didn't return calls about the hiring of replacements.
The workers went on strike at 6:30 p.m. April 2, and the plant has since been kept in production by salaried employees and people from other AMAX divisions. The three-year contract expired March 19. Employees worked for several days without a contract in anticipation of an agreement being negotiated.
The ultimatum to return to work came because the salaried employees are working 12 hours and resting 12 hours, and they need someone to spell them off, company officials said.
Collard said neither side is happy with the agreement, but "it is the best negotiated proposal we could get. Both sides had to compromise."
Earlier this week, the company obtained a temporary restraining order signed by 3rd District Judge J. Dennis Frederick, establishing the location for pickets, how many people could picket and prohibiting the pickets from using alcoholic beverages on the picket lines.
Company officials sought the order to stop the rock-throwing, tire slashing and road blocking. Company officials said such incidents have diminished greatly since the order was signed.
Between the time the contract expired and the workers went on strike, they worked according to the latest company offer. That called for a 5 percent reduction in wages, to be replaced with an incentive pay program.