late on Thursday, the USW cited “progress” made with U.S. Steel “on
significant issues” but announced at the same time that “the company
continues to insist on a number of unrealistic and unacceptable demands for
The USW then
provided a synopsis of the issues on which daylight remains between the
union and the company:
healthcare: The company’s proposal would add deductibles, copays, and
out-of-pocket costs up to nearly $3,300 per year for family coverage by
2018. If more than one family member experiences a serious health problem, a
family’s premiums and out-of-pocket could hit $6,300 per year. “These costs
would be even higher for out-of-network services,” the union said.
* Two-tier plan:
Employees hired after Jan. 1, 2016, would be excluded from the current
healthcare plan and “shoved into a high-deductible health plan,” similar to
the one covering non-represented employees. That plan would have slightly
lower monthly premiums but also expose employees to large out-of-pocket.
“The proposal is designed to create a two-tier compensation scheme that will
make it harder to bargain benefits, create resentment, and undermine
solidarity,” the union said. “Since these employees haven’t even begun work,
there are no labor cost savings--but the seeds of division are sown.”
healthcare: The company is no longer proposing to eliminate the current
plan for Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses. “However, U.S.
Steel continues to propose higher premiums and drug copays for
Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses and substantial
cost-shifting for non-Medicare-eligible retirees,” the union said.
security for all: “Health care is an important issue,” the union said.
“We work hard. Work in a steel mill is difficult and often dangerous. It
takes its toll. We deserve quality healthcare for ourselves and our
families. Our wages shouldn’t be eaten up by premiums and we shouldn’t have
to face ruin due to an unexpected hospital admission.”
* Health and
safety: “U.S. Steel continues to insist upon having their own input on
the direction of our union safety representatives,” the union said.
out: “U.S. Steel wants the right to contract out day-to-day maintenance
with no notification,” the union said. “We remain determined not to open the
door to more contractors.”
Profit-sharing: “U.S. Steel has proposed changes to the profit-sharing
plan which would reduce the frequency of the payments from quarterly to
annually,” the union said.
* S&A benefits:
“The company proposes to deny Sickness & Accident benefits to employees
with less than three years of service,” the union said. “Currently,
employees are eligible for S&A coverage 60 days after their date of hire.”
The USW ended the