Chesterton Tribune

Gipson reminds Local 6787 of blast furnace understanding with ArcelorMittal

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Two days before the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) planned protest of ArcelorMittal’s idling of nine blast furnaces on the Continent, Paul Gipson, president of United Steelworkers Local 6787, is reminding members of the step taken nearly two years ago to protect the company’s Burns Harbor facility.

Gipson told the Chesterton Tribune today that, in May 2010, Local 6787 inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ArcelorMittal under which the Burns Harbor facilities’ C and D blast furnaces must continue to operate and produce iron “even when fewer furnaces are needed (in North America) to meet demand.”

“We must always research our facility and take steps to secure the economic future of the Burns Harbor facility,” Gipson said. “ArcelorMittal has an annual business plan and I am sure the projections for steel production in Europe and the United States indicate how many furnaces are required to meet that plan. It is important to recognize the significance of the MOU.”

Right now two of ArcelorMittal’s blast furnaces in North America are idled, Gipson said, while nine of its 25 furnaces in Europe are. In protest of the latter idling, EMF is calling for strikes, work stoppages, and demonstrations across the company’s European operations, sited in nine countries with employees represented by 25 unions.

Noted Gipson, “Good agreements during the worst of times have greater value for the long term.”

 

 

Posted 12/5/2011