AK Steel CEO Appeals for Cuts Via Video

Cutting out the middle man is a manufacturing strategy that is getting more and more common these days, but using it to circumvent the union is new.

The chief executive of AK Steel Holding Corp. is taking his case for worker concessions directly to their homes as the contract between the company and the employees nears expiration.
Some 3,500 videotapes were distributed Tuesday and Wednesday to hourly and salaried employees, with a message from James Wainscott, the Middletown company’s chairman, chief executive and president.
‘When a steel company goes down, the town goes down and everybody loses,’ Wainscott says in the 19-minute video, titled ‘Decision in Middletown.’
The contract expires next Tuesday. Members of the Armco Employees Independent Federation, which represents more than 2,600 workers at AK’s Middletown Works, voted last weekend to authorize a strike if necessary. Negotiations are continuing.

4 thoughts on “AK Steel CEO Appeals for Cuts Via Video”

  1. It is refreshing to see the direct approach taken by James Wainscott to communicate with the employees of AK Steel. However, this definitely reveals two or three major issues:

    1. Why does AK Steel need fewer employees and more employee concessions? Are the employees over paid; underproductive?

    2. Why can’t labor and management share in the cost of a Lean Enterprise solution instead of more hurtful employee cuts?

    3. Why can’t labor and management share in the cost of an impartial Labor Relations/Lean Enterprise consultant? Someone who could help them to avoid costly and damaging disputes from becoming emotional. Isn’t it really true that the real problems lie in ineffective management solutions to very common business and manufacturing problems?

    James, there really is a better way. To the union leadership: Men, there really is a better way.

    Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

    Thank you,

    Phil Jackson
    JBS Interntional

  2. I agree it was interesting to use this unusual approach to talk directly to the union rank and file. That’s why I mentioned it in the blog.

    As to the underlying issues, as usual, the press coverage is inadequate to form any kind of opinion about whether an arbitrator and/or a lean enterprise techniques consultant would be of value in the situation.

    Thanks for your input.


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