U.S. Magnesium and steelworkers are scheduled to sit down with a federal mediator Thursday and Friday in an effort to end a five-day-old strike, according to Wayne Holland Jr., a spokesman for the United Steel Workers Local No. 8319.
The strike, involving about 260 steelworkers, was initiated after U.S. Magnesium said it would require workers to pay a $40 a month health care premium. In the past, workers paid no premium for their health-care benefits.
"The problem there is that for years we have foregone wage increases to keep the health-care costs contained," Holland said. "That, plus the company for many years has said if we would suffer through some of the hard times we would gain in the good times. Magnesium prices are now at an all-time high."