A five-day walkout by striking steel workers at the Eastalco Aluminum Company ended yesterday, after members of United Steel Workers Local 7886 overwhelmingly agreed on a new three-year contract that calls for wages to be frozen and workers to give up four of 12 paid holidays.
The new contract was ratified 474 to 70.
Union officials and management had arrived at a tentative agreement Thursday morning during a private negotiating session at the Sheraton Inn in Frederick. Talks stalled July 27.
Union officials said the steel workers are expected to return to their jobs for the 8 a.m. shift Saturday.
Before their contract expired, workers received 12 holidays a year. Management originally offered 10 holidays, then 7. The new contract calls for 8.
Robert Easterday, president of the local, said the new contract also calls for wages to be frozen for the next three years.
Hourly workers are paid from $9.36 an hour to $14.42 an hour, with adjustments for cost of living and shift differentials.
Workers will receive time-and-a-quarter pay for overtime during the first two years of the contract, increasing to time-and-a-half pay during the final year of the contract.
Easterday said Thursday he was not satisfied with the concessions, "but we're going to recommend it."
Last Sunday, just shortly before midnight, the steel workers walked off their jobs, as their old contract had expired.
Picket lines were set up, and Maryland State Police and county sheriff deputies were sent in to avert possible violence.
Police were anticipating violence similar to that which occurred in 1977 when two strikers were shot and wounded.
But Maryland state police said this week's strike remained relatively peaceful with only minor incidents reported.
On Tuesday night, a picket was struck by a truck leaving the plant. No one was charged.
By Thursday, the pickets had picked up nails, broken glass and trash which had been strewn across the firm's entrance.
During the strike, about 240 management employes ran assembly lines at a normal 75 percent capacity, according to company officials.