PITTSBURGH, Nov. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that although the union has terminated its extended agreement with Tulsa-based ONE Gas, Inc., about 400 members of Locals 12561, 13417 and 14228 will continue working under its terms and conditions while negotiations for a new contract proceed.
On Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, USW members who install, maintain and repair natural gas utility lines for the company's residential and business customers in Kansas and Oklahoma rejected a tentative agreement with ONE Gas by a margin of more than three to one. USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez said that progress at the bargaining table will determine the next steps for the union, as members have authorized their negotiating committee to initiate a strike if necessary. "Our committee is focused on negotiating in good faith for a fair contract," Ramirez said. "As long as ONE Gas management shares our goals and we continue to make progress at the table, our members can stay focused on their jobs." Ramirez said that healthcare and other issues remain the focus of negotiations, which resume today, as the sides meet face-to-face for the first time since union members rejected the tentative agreement. The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.