The United Steelworkers represents almost 700 people at Century Aluminum's smelter at Ravenswood, idled in February 2009. The USW also represents about 700 workers at Constellium's adjacent rolling mill, where Local 5668 went on strike five weeks ago.
Century wants to re-start the smelter. Constellium, which says it has lost money in 11 of the past 13 years, wants to continue to operate.
Health care costs have been an issue in the case of both employers.
The United Steelworkers want to hold the line in both cases.
Constellium now pays 100 percent of workers' health care premiums, although they do have some co-pays. The company recently offered a deal in which employees would pay only 5 percent of the premium.
The Steelworkers rejected Constellium's first offer. But the union did not hold a vote on a second offer Constellium made before the union called a strike.
A unit president for Local 5668 said the union will not hold a vote on Constellium's most recent offer either.
There can be only one explanation: The union might lose the votes.
Rank-and-file steelworkers do difficult, often dangerous jobs; they have every right to decide the conditions under which they are willing to work.