RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. -- Striking steelworkers at Constellium Rolled Products voted Wednesday to end a nearly seven-week strike at the aluminum plant in Ravenswood, a sub-district director for the United Steelworkers in West Virginia said.
Randy Moore said steelworkers with USW Local 5668 ratified a new five-year contract but he would not provide the vote totals.
"We hope the company is ready to go back to work to make the highest quality of aerospace aluminum made in the world and to get back to satisfying our customers," Moore said. "There are people who are disappointed with the vote on both sides, but the majority has spoken and we have to get back to business as usual.
"There are dissatisfied members on both sides but it is what it is and the majority of the membership made the decision," he said.
Over a 12-hour period Wednesday, workers who had been on strike since Aug. 5 arrived at their union hall just south of Ravenswood to vote on the new contract proposed by Constellium.
Local 5668 represents about 700 of 1,000 employees at the Ravenswood aluminum plant.
Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., applauded the announcement Wednesday night.
"Our West Virginia work ethic is legendary, and these workers will make sure that Constellium continues to grow and prosper," Rockefeller said in a statement. "I communicated to both sides throughout these negotiations, and I'm glad that all parties kept working toward a solution.
"I applaud the workers, the union, and the company today, and I look forward to seeing production resume on the great work that only this Jackson County facility can produce for our country."
Manchin said many people put in hard work to get Constellium's workers back on the job for a fair wage.
"Over the course of these challenging negotiations, my priority has been to bring the parties together, treat everyone with respect and fairness and do our best to get our talented people back to work," Manchin said in a statement. "I am extremely pleased today to see these West Virginians and this company come together around a fair deal.
"Today's agreement means that we can keep good-paying jobs and make the company successful ... ," he said.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who met with both union and Constellium officials earlier this month, also issued a statement.
"I want to thank both the company and the union for their hard work in resolving the work stoppage. This deal is extremely important to Jackson County's economy, the over 1,000 workers employed by Constellium, and the entire state of West Virginia," Tomblin said. "It will be great to see the workers back at the plant soon."
Early Wednesday afternoon, one worker outside the union hall who would not give his name said, "I am not voting against my health benefits. I have worked here for 30 years and my dad worked here for 45 years. I will not vote against health benefits."
Several members of the union said they would have no comment until all the votes were counted. One large sign in front of the union hall said, "Unfair Labor Practice Strike Against Constellium. One Day Longer Again," which was a reference to a 19-month lockout in Ravenswood that ended with a new contract in May 1992.
Bob Dennison has helped coordinate picketing along the road leading into the Constellium plant on the banks of the Ohio River. When asked about the vote Wednesday afternoon he said he'll "just wait and see what the members want. Whatever they want, we will support."
Signs posted on the picket areas stated: "Stop the Greed. Give Us A Fair Contract," and "Keep Your Hands Off Our Insurance."