Two weeks after contract negotiations began, union workers at Arconic have decided to vote on whether to authorize a strike

Local 105 of the United Steelworkers represents 1,800 hourly workers at the Davenport Works in Riverdale. Lee Shaffer, Local 105 spokesman, says negotiations have been slow, so union workers hope to speed them up, and emphasize their “essential” status during the pandemic.

“We were essential back then, so we want to be treated as essential now,” Shaffer says. “We feel like we deserve pay that’s essential. Our benefits, health care and things of that nature, need to stay the same. We have good health care and we’d like to keep it, and our retirement. We’d like more put into our retirement so that we can enjoy better lives when we retire.”

The strike authorization vote will affect more than 3,000 workers at four locations — the Quad Cities, Tennessee, Indiana, and New York. Union workers will vote Thursday at the Isle of Capri in Bettendorf. The current, three-year contract expires Sunday at noon.

The Davenport Works manufactures aluminum sheet and plate for aerospace, automotive, and industrial applications.

(Thanks to WVIK, Rock Island)