Teamsters authorize a strike at Tacoma’s Northwest Steel & Pipe

After four months of off-and-on negotiations failed to produce a contract agreement, Teamster Union members voted unanimously Tuesday night to authorize a strike at Tacoma’s Northwest Steel and Pipe Co.

The two Teamster locals, 117 and 313, represent a total of 46 employees at the company including drivers and warehouse workers.

Union members did not begin picketing hoping that their vote would persuade the company to return to the bargaining table. “We don’t want to strike, but we’re ready to defend our livelihoods and our legal rights if we have to,” said a union spokesman.

The union said it was particularly concerned about a recent proposal from the company to end the workers’ defined benefit pension plan.

A company spokesman was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon.