Chesterton Tribune


USW: New ArcelorMittal proposal 'dangerous'

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Three and a half days before the United Steelworkers’ contract with ArcelorMittal expires—at midnight Friday, Aug. 31—there appears to be no resolution in sight at the negotiating table in Pittsburgh, Pa.

This morning the USW released this statement to its membership.

“For the entire summer, your Negotiating Committee has worked hard to engage ArcelorMittal management in meaningful discussions about our shared future. From the very beginning, we knew these negotiations would be difficult.

“Four days before expiration, ArcelorMittal’s latest contract proposal is incomplete, inconsistent, and very dangerous. To receive this concessionary proposal this late in the negotiations is a step backwards.

“ArcelorMittal management has ignored our input on these issues that affect the long-term viability and sustainability of our plants and refuses to address the needs of our membership regarding capital investments in our plants, our wages, our retirement, our seniority, and other rights on the job—and that’s just the beginning.

“They continue to insist on establishing a two-tier structure in our plants—with new hires receiving lower wages (in some cases permanently and in other cases for as long as six years) and no pension benefits. History has shown that two-tier systems create resentment, conflict, and disunity—disrupting the teamwork and harmony that we all know is essential to a productive and profitable operation. This is bad for the company and worse for us, yet management continues to propose it.

“They continue to insist on ever greater rights to contract out our work and they continue to resist our effort to ensure that steelworkers are properly trained to ensure the smooth operation of our plants.

“The company has rejected fairness and compromise, and embraced favoritism and confrontation. Simply put, ArcelorMittal is trying to use the global economic crisis of the last four years to gut our contract and rob us of the rights we’ve won overly nearly a century of struggle.

“We did not fight to save our industry only to turn back the clock and turn our plants over to contractors.

“At this critical time in our industry, our jobs, families, and communities are too important to give this management team the unilateral, unchecked right to destroy everything steelworkers have worked so hard to build.”


Posted 8/28/2012