Chesterton Tribune



Union reports little progress in talks one week before ArcelorMittal contract expires

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The United Steelworkers (USW) is reporting continuing intransigence on the part of ArcelorMittal during ongoing contract talks in Pittsburgh, one week before the current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 1

In a communique released just before deadline today, the USW indicated that union negotiators have still failed to get traction on a number of issues.

The text of the communique in full:

“For the last six weeks, our committee has been working to engage ArcelorMittal management in good-faith negotiations, yet we received another predictably unacceptable counterproposal from ArcelorMittal this week with little movement, if any, on the company’s part.

“The company has failed to address our need for wage and pension improvements, and management continues to demand unreasonable and unnecessary healthcare concessions from active members and retirees.

“Due to market conditions in 2015, ArcelorMittal was not generating cash, and as a result, we showed flexibility in bargaining an agreement that did not include wage increases but protected the security of our jobs, earnings, and retirements.

“The healthcare changes we negotiated actually reduced the company’s costs without cutting benefits or radical increases in out-of-pocket expenses for individual members or retirees.

“Since then, we have made dramatic improvements in productivity, and both ArcelorMittal USA and the industry as a whole have turned around. As we have said before, the company has generated significant cash since 2015. In fact, the market forecast is positive for the foreseeable future.

“As the company continues to thrive, we should not need to remind management that none of the facilities currently owned by ArcelorMittal would be operating if it weren’t for our hard work and the USW’s leadership in the decades-long struggle for fair trade--yet that is precisely what we must do.

“Now more than ever, we must stand together to fight for the fair contract that we have earned and deserve. We are planning to hold gate rallies on Thursday, Aug. 30, at all of the plants to show management that we are united.

“As always, we urge everyone to continue working safely and stay in contact with their Contract Action Team while our committee continues to focus on engaging the company in more productive talks in the few remaining days before our contract expires on Sept. 1, and we will keep everyone updated on any additional actions at the appropriate time next week.”

U.S. Steel Talks

Meanwhile, the USW released two short statements this week on its contract talks with U.S. Steel Corporation (USS).

The first, on Tuesday: “USS is dragging their feet on counterproposals and economics. Some progress on local issues, but some local issues still need work. Solidarity is strength!”

The second, on Thursday: “Awful proposal today from USS. Strips benefits. Increases co-pays. Minimal wage increases. Promises of bonus complete under (management) control. We are Steel Strong!”



Posted 8/24/2018





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