Chesterton Tribune


USW: No progress in talks on Wednesday

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The United Steelworkers (USW) is accusing ArcelorMittal of continued intransigence and said that little or no progress was made on Wednesday in negotiations for a new contract.

The current four-year labor agreement expires at midnight on Sept. 1.

The USW released this statement this morning.

“Throughout the day on Wednesday your Negotiating Committee continued to meet in an effort to move the company off its irresponsible and dangerous course. We again made a comprehensive proposal designed to reach a fair and equitable contract, with movement on our part toward responsible compromise.

“Unfortunately, the company has maintained its insistence on the kind of concessions that we have been reporting to you, including two-tier wages and benefits, attacks on our contractual rights, and cutting back our health care.

“We are reaching the point where the conflict between the two contrasting visions for a strong and viable future for our plants, our jobs, our families, and our communities is becoming ever more stark.

“•We believe that high levels of efficiency and productivity will be achieved by working together, utilizing the skills and knowledge of everyone. They seem to believe that ever greater rights for management to unilaterally ‘make-it-up-as-they-go-along’ in any way they choose is the better option.

“•We believe that highly trained and experienced steelworkers are the best and most efficient workforce for the long haul. They seem to believe that the irresponsible and increasing use of contractors is the better option.

“•We believe that two-tier wages and benefits are unfair and create conflict and division, undermining our commitment to world-class performance. They seem to believe that the short-term cost savings that result from unfairly treating new hires is the better option.

“The list goes on. But the difference is crystal clear—we are once again at a crossroads for our industry. We can fight for our future, or we can surrender to failed short-term strategies that only enrich the few at the expense of the many.”


Posted 8/30/2012