RAVENSWOOD - Striking workers from Constellium Rolled Products in Ravenswood decided Wednesday which direction they were going to take their futures and that direction is to return to work.
For 12 hours Wednesday, union members went to the union hall to vote on the proposed contract from the company. Around 700 union workers have been on strike since Aug. 5.
The company's last offer came more than a week ago following a meeting between both sides set up by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
A man who answered the telephone at the union hall in Ravenswood said the vote passed and the contract was approved. He did not have the vote totals available.
Union officials could not be reached for immediate comment Wednesday evening.
In a story from the Associated Press, Randall Moore, sub district director for United Steelworkers District 8, said there were people who were disappointed with the vote's outcome, but the majority had spoken and it was time "to get back to business as usual."
"We hope the company is ready to go back to work to make the highest quality of aerospace aluminum made in the world and to get back to satisfying our customers," Moore told the Charleston Gazette, according to AP.
Moore did not return phone and email messages left at his office and the union hall to The Parkersburg News and Sentinel throughout the day and evening Wednesday.
The AP story also said union officials were not releasing the vote totals.
Laura Prisc, spokesman for Constellium, said the company will release a statement today concerning the contract's approval.
When asked when employees might be back on the job, Prisc said the ''return to work will take some coordination, so it won't be immediate.''
The company said it extended its final offer through Wednesday to accommodate the vote by union members.
The company's final offer provides employees with a $7,500 ratification bonus, 2.5 percent wage increases in each year of the contract, and other economic benefits. It includes a 95/5 health care plan that pays for 95 percent of covered health care costs.
Employees will not pay for health care premiums until 2017, and then at rates that are significantly less than half of the national average $17.31 a week for family coverage, officials said.
Tomblin said he was extremely pleased the members voted to ratify the contract.
''I want to thank both the company and the union for their hard work in resolving the work stoppage,'' he said. ''This deal is extremely important to Jackson County's economy, the over 1,000 workers employed by Constellium, and the entire state of West Virginia. It will be great to see the workers back at the plant soon."
In a statement released Wednesday night, Manchin said so many people put in so much hard work to get Constellium's workers back on the job for a fair wage.
''I congratulate them on reaching this agreement today," Manchin said. "I am extremely pleased to see these West Virginians and this company come together around a fair deal."
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., was pleased to see that Constellium and its workers have come to an agreement.
''Our West Virginia work ethic is legendary, and these workers will make sure that Constellium continues to grow and prosper,'' Rockefeller said in a prepared statement. ''I communicated to both sides throughout these negotiations, and I'm glad that all parties kept working toward a solution."
Ravenswood Mayor Michael Ihle congratulated the Constellium employees and their families for their countless hours of hard work and debate that led to the agreement.
''This victory is for them, and they have earned it,'' Ihle said. ''The contract will put about 700 locals back to work, making some of the finest rolled aluminum products in the world.''
The agreement is big for the city as many throughout the community rely on the plant's operation .
"I am thrilled that the Ravenswood area has finally secured a measure of much-needed economic stability,'' the mayor said. ''It means 700 families have money to pay their bills, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, attend our ball games and give to our churches.
''It is the first of several steps needed to get our local economy moving again.''
Now that the strike is over, Ihle is calling for unity throughout the community.
''Let's all unite behind this decision and begin to heal any divisions that have formed between those with differences,'' he said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)