HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Union members and even local delegates are reacting after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke out about the Special Metals strike.
Reactions have been somewhat mixed, but a prevailing attitude amongst the union members is frustration at why senators from West Virginia have not spoken out as well.
House of delegates member John Mandt, Jr. weighed in on this as well, saying the plant is important to the local economy.
“I don’t particularly agree with a lot of things Bernie Sanders stands for and that’s okay. But do think that they need to come back to the table, and have some discussion…I would really like to see our governor and our senators and our congresspeople to get together and urge the two to come to the table,” Mandt says.
“Frustration. You know, we’re not getting the support from the people that we need here at home. But, it’s good to know that our word is getting out all the way up in D.C. and so hopefully that helps, with the process,” says Jayson Pine, a union employee at Special Metals.
This comes after Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont reached out to United Steelworkers Local 40 president Chad Thompson last Thursday.
“He reached out to the local, and the international, and asked if there was anything he could do to help, maybe get talks going and get a fair contract at the plant. He sent, as everybody’s seen by now, sent a letter to Warren Buffet, and Mr. Buffet answered him,” Thompson says.
According to Sanders’ website, Buffett said he would pass along the message to Special Metals’ parent company, Precision Castparts, without a recommendation.
“It wasn’t the answer that I would’ve liked to have seen. But also I understand that he is the CEO, Mark Donegan, and he trusts him to lead the company,” Thompson says.
“The biggest issue amongst most of the people we’ve talked to here is we’re not hearing anything from our local senators, our governor here in West Virginia. And we don’t feel like we’re getting that support from here in the state,” Pine says.
“You’d think that the company and the union could get together on something, sooner or later, without the government I mean they don’t need their nose in it I guess,” says Todd Finley, a machinist at Special Metals.
Thompson says they have not heard from either Senator Manchin or Senator Capito’s offices on this.
A spokesperson for Senator Capito says they do not currently have a statement on this.
13 News has not heard back from Senator Manchin’s office.
Special Metals and USW Local 40 go back to the bargaining table on January 4th.