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United Steelworkers Local 209 Participate in ‘Informational Picketing’ at Besser

A man holds up a sign for United Steelworkers Local 209 in Wednesday's informational picketing outside of Besser.

Alpena- Steelworkers lined Johnson St. on Wednesday afternoon in response to failed negotiations between the local steelworker’s union and Besser Company.

United Steelworkers Local 209 had just over 30 members hold up signs and raise awareness over ongoing negotiations between the union workers and Besser. On March 1st, the contract expired. Workers have been working with no contract as the parties continue to go back and forth.

“The company is stuck on their final best and last offer. No matter what we throw at them, they keep sticking to that offer,” said Chief Steward of the United Steelworkers 209 Phil Bilyeu,”We feel like we’ve been very flexible and we continue to do so, but at this point, everyone is getting frustrated with the process.”

The hope for today’s informational picketing was to grab the attention of the executives at Besser. Most of the men had just come off of their 3:00pm shift and took to the sidewalk, hoping to have cars honk their horns. Men wore shirts in support and raised signs stating “FAIR CONTRACT NOW!”  If the gridlock continues, Besser could see a strike on their hands.

“I certainly hope we come to a deal soon but if not, we’re willing to stand out here again, doing these informational pickets and possibly even go on strike at some point,” said Bilyeu.

We reached out to Besser Company for comment but they declined at this time.