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Warren Buffett Tells Bernie Sanders He Won’t Interfere With Special Metals Strike


Warren Buffett (R) chats with Mark Donegan, CEO of Precision Castparts, at the Precision Castparts booth in the gallery during the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, April 30 2016.

Ryan Henriksen | Reuters

Warren Buffett will not interfere in a steelworker’s strike at a company owned by his company Berkshire Hathaway, he told Sen. Bernie Sanders this week.

Sanders wrote to Buffett on Tuesday and asked the Berkshire CEO to participate in negotiations between United Steelworkers Local 40 and West Virginia-based Special Metals. Precision Castparts, a subsidiary of the Buffett group, owns Special Metals.

In a letter dated Tuesday and published by Sanders’ office on Thursday, Buffett told the independent Vermont newspaper that he would not participate in labor negotiations. He cited Berkshire’s policy to let its companies “make their own labor and personnel decisions.”

“I am forwarding your letter to the CEO of Precision Castparts but making no recommendations to him for any action,” Buffett wrote. “He’s in charge of his business.”

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About 450 Special Metals workers in Huntington, WV died on October 1. Health care was one of the biggest issues in contract negotiations as the union tried to avoid paying more for a higher deductible insurance plans, United Steelworkers Local 40 President Chad Thompson said Thursday.

Thompson said Sanders’ office has reached out to offer help to the striking workers. He spoke to the senator by phone. He added that he appreciates Sanders providing support and hopes the increased attention will help the negotiations move forward.

Thompson was frustrated that no deal could be reached by Christmas. He said negotiations would start again next week, more than three months since the strike took place.

“We’re doing whatever we can to get us back to work,” he said, thanking the Huntington community and local unions for their support during the strike.

Precision Castparts did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the letter to Buffett, Sanders asked him to “intervene” in the negotiations to “ensure that workers are treated fairly and with respect and receive a fair contract, rewards for care, and fair treatment.” only and sacrifices they made.”

“At a time when both this company and Berkshire Hathaway are doing very well, there’s no reason for the workers you employ to worry about whether they’ll be able to raise children,” the senator wrote. health care or not”. “There’s no reason why the standard of living for these hard-working Americans should decline. I know that you and Berkshire Hathaway can do better.”

Sanders, a labor advocate, has weighed in on his issue after several strikes and union push in recent years. Most recently, he got up with Kellogg’s workers in Michigan this month.

Buffett, one of the 10 richest people in America, is not a frequent target of Sanders like his colleagues including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

In his letter to Buffett, Sanders noted that the Berkshire CEO was “eloquently speaking about the crisis our nation is facing today due to rising incomes and inequality between rich and poor.”

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