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Workers strike at Atchison steel manufacturing plant

Dozens of USW local 6943 union members who work at the Bradken manufacturing plant in Atchison went on strike Monday afternoon.

Posted: Mar 26, 2021 11:50 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2021 11:57 PM

(ATCHISON, Kan.) About fifty to sixty people walked off their job, and onto the picket line at Bradken, a manufacturing company in Atchison.

Members of the United Steel Workers Local Union 6943 said they went on strike last Monday afternoon. 

"We believe that the company really didn’t enter negotiations very seriously with us," Robert Tripp, a union representative said. 

Union workers are striking at the plant which makes steel products. USW Local Union 6943 told KQ2 Friday that Bradken wants to get rid of the union’s proposals on management rights in exchange for it’s own.

"They’re taking our seat from the table," Gregg Welch, USW Local 6943 union member said. "They want to have control of who does what work when, standards, and things like that."

Welch said the company and its workers have been in negotiations since January, Tripp said he felt Bradken didn’t take them seriously and engaged in surface bargaining. 

Ken Bean, the vice president of operations at the plant, said he stands by the company’s decision.

"We gave the union a fair proposal and we’re willing to continue to talk," Bean said.  "Obviously we’re disappointed that the union decided to pull an economic strike."

Strikers and the union said there’s a misunderstanding within the company over what strikers are asking for. 

"They said its an economic strike and it’s not," Welch said. 

The union standing behind it’s members while the company says talks will continue.

"We’re basically looking at some various things and seeing what either side can kind of find some middle ground with." Bean said. 

Nearly 75% of the total workforce at the Bradken plant in Atchison are part of the USW Local 6943 union. 

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We have had rain off and on this Friday afternoon across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. Scattered showers will continue off and on through the evening and overnight hours. A few showers could linger through the day Saturday but the rain will be lighter than today and much more scattered. Temperatures will slowly start to warm Sunday into Monday as sunshine returns and conditions start to dry out. Another cold front is headed our way Monday night and that will bring us a chance for rain and possibly some snow into Tuesday morning as the colder air surges into our area. Temperatures look to stay unseasonably cool through the rest of the next week.
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