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.”