- Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has told Sen. Bernie Sanders that he will not participate in the strike by Special Metals, a company owned by Berkshire subsidiary Precision CastParts.
- Sanders wrote to the billionaire businessman asking him to “intervene” on behalf of 450 striking steelworkers who face potential pay cuts and increased health care costs.
- Buffett cited Berkshire’s policy of allowing companies that have permission to handle labor and personnel decisions.
Warren Buffett will not intervene in a strike by steelworkers at the company owned by his firm Berkshire Hathaway, he told Sen. Bernie Sanders this week.
Sanders wrote to Buffett on Tuesday asking Berkshire’s CEO to join talks between United Steelworkers Local 40 and West Virginia-based Special Metals. Precision Castparts, a subsidiary of Buffett’s group, owns Specialty Metals.
In a letter written Tuesday and issued by Sanders’ office on Thursday, Buffett told the Vermont Independent that he would not step into labor talks. He cited Berkshire’s policy of letting its companies “deal personally with their own labor and personnel decisions”.
“I am forwarding your letter to the CEO of Precision CastParts, but I am not making any recommendations to him for any action,” Buffett wrote. “He is responsible for his business.”
About 450 special metal workers staged a walkout on October 1 in Huntington, WV. Contract negotiations are set to stretch to 2022 as workers try to avert potential pay cuts and health-insurance cost hikes.
United Steelworkers Local 40 and Precision CastParts did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In his letter to Buffett, Sanders called on him to “interfere” in the negotiations, “to ensure that workers are treated with dignity and respect and receive a fair contract that is consistent with what they do.” Rewards the hard work and sacrifices made.”
“At a time when this company and Berkshire Hathaway are both doing very well, there’s no reason why the workers you employ should worry about whether they’ll be able to feed their kids or have health care.” The senator wrote. “There is no reason why the standard of living of these hardworking Americans should decline. I know you and Berkshire Hathaway can do better than this.”
Sanders, a labor advocate, has put his weight behind several strikes and union drives in recent years. Most recently, he rallied with striking Kellogg workers in Michigan this month.
Buffett, one of 10 richest people in America, has not been a frequent target of Sanders’ wrath as his peers, including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.
In his letter to Buffett, Sanders noted that Berkshire’s CEO has “spoken frankly about our country’s crisis in the context of rising income and wealth inequality.”