says will cut expenses in half and allow it to grow.

U.S. Bank in Johnstown signed the four-year agreement with the United Steelworkers of America last week. It applies to 270 nonmanagement employees at the $1.4 billion-asset bank, about 65% of its work force.

The bank, a subsidiary of Johnstown-based USBancorp, is one of 13 in the nation with unionized employees. Their affiliation dates from 1972, when the steel and coal industries controlled Johnstown and the union represented almost every worker in town. Orlando B. Hanselman, president and chief executive officer, said negotiations were sometimes difficult.

"Up until recently, the bank had what I guess you could call a typical union-management relationship," he said. "We have had the typical adversarial workplace."

This time, however, the bank worked with employees to get key concessions. Just by reworking a profit-sharing formula written in 1945, it should cut expenses by 45%, Mr. Hanselman said. In return, employees were guaranteed wage increases of at least 3% a year and a $250 bonus.

Unions have been a hot topic at USBancorp. This summer it announced plans to spin off its other subsidiary, Jefferson, Pa.-based Three Rivers Bank of Pittsburgh. USBancorp said its union ties were dragging down its stock price and that Three Rivers, which is not unionized, needed a stronger stock to attract talent and make acquisitions. The spinoff is expected to be completed by April. -- Louis Whiteman

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.