Cases & Investigations

Ralph Smith and Ignatius Harris, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Allegheny Technologies, Inc., and Strom Engineering Corporation

CASE STATUS: Pending
CLASS PERIOD START DATE: August 1, 2015
CLASS PERIOD END DATE: March 1, 2016

Berger Montague has filed a class and collective action lawsuit against Allegheny Technologies, Inc. (“ATI”) and Strom Engineering Corporation (“Strom”) on behalf of replacement workers who worked for these companies between August 2015 and March 2016.

The complaint claims that Strom and ATI violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by not paying its employees for their time spent being transported to and across picket lines in front of ATI facilities. A copy of the Complaint can be accessed here.

ATI, a publicly-traded corporation, manufactures and supplies specialty metals-including steel and other types of materials-for its customers worldwide. On August 15, 2015, ATI instituted a lockout of approximately 2,200 employees, all of whom are covered by various collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”) with the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC (“USW”).

The lockout occurred due to a contract dispute between ATI and USW. In response to the lockout, the USW mobilized its members to protest ATI’s decision. These protests included picket lines and rallying at plant gates.

In connection with the lockout, ATI contracted with Strom, a privately-held corporation that provides strike and replacement labor for unionized employers throughout the United States, to provide a non-unionized temporary workforce to work at the ATI plants.

ATI and Strom scheduled these replacement workers to work 84 hour workweeks, 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. The replacement workers were required to travel to ATI facilities in vans that were owned, leased, or rented by Strom and driven by the replacement workers. The time spent driving or traveling to and across picket lines to enter the ATI facilities, was unpaid.

Plaintiffs allege that the required travel is compensable work time because it was an integral and indispensable part of their principal work activities.

On November 27, 2017, the Court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss and granted conditional collective action certification. A copy of the Order is available here.

What is a replacement worker?

Replacement workers are people hired to fill the roles of company employees who are unable to work due to a strike or lockout. They are sent from workplace to workplace by strike replacement companies such as Strom.

Replacement workers are often limited in their ability to organize and advocate for their rights because of the temporary and transient nature of replacement work.

Instead, without job security, the ability to organize, or access to labor protections that are traditionally associated with permanent positions, replacement workers are placed at the mercy of strike staffing agencies and companies whose priorities center on ensuring continuity of their own operations, frequently at the expense of the work conditions and basic rights of the replacement workers.

In addition, replacement workers, who are typically hired from outside the community where a lockout or strike occurs and who are in need of hourly work to support themselves and their families, are often pitted against the union employees they are replacing.

If you are a replacement worker who was employed by Strom and ATI between August 2015 and March 2016 and did not receive payment for your travel time in Strom-operated vans, you are eligible to join the case and may do so by completing an Opt-In Consent Form here.

There is a two (2) year deadline for filing unpaid wages and overtime claims under the FLSA, or three (3) years if the violation was willful, running from the date(s) you actually worked.  If you do not timely file any claim for unpaid compensation that you have, your claim could be time-barred later because of the statute of limitations on FLSA claims.

Do I have to pay to consult with an attorney?

We are happy to answer any questions about your potential claims on a confidential basis. Please contact us at (215) 875-3033.

 

 

 

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Sarah R. Schalman-Bergen

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