April 9, 2014
By Bob Matyi

Felman labor vote result likely by Apr 11: USW

Union employees at Felman Production's idled 105,000 mt/year silicomanganese plant in New Haven, West Virginia, are voting this week on a modified labor agreement with results of the balloting to be known by April 11.

The Florida-based company urged the United Steelworkers union to make some changes in the existing contract, proposing an 18-month extension with wage and language changes, according to Denny Longwell, a USW staff representative. "We countered with a 12-month extension and a few language modifications," Longwell said in an email on April 9, without elaborating. Felman officials could not be reached for comment on April 9.

More than 100 union workers are eligible to vote on the new deal.

Roy Martin, vice president of USW Local 5171 at the New Haven plant, said in an email that Felman had said it would restart production at the idled plant if it received a favorable power rate ruling from the West Virginia Public Service Commission. The facility was idled last July.

Last week, the PSC authorized Felman to receive a discount of up to $9 million a year on its electricity rates; the company had sought $9.5 million annually over 10 years.

The PSC also gave Felman until June 30 to enter into a contract with New Haven's electricity supplier, Appalachian Power Co., an American Electric Power subsidiary, on the special rate.