, the first of 2016.
negotiations for a new contract with ArcelorMittal resumed on Jan. 4, 2016,
our committee was hopeful that the tentative agreement our union reached
with U.S. Steel would lead the company to change its approach to bargaining
in the New Year. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
ArcelorMittal has dropped its demand for active employees to pay monthly
premiums for medical coverage, the company continues to propose drastic
changes to the designs of our active and retiree benefits plans and tripling
our retirees’ healthcare premiums.
“Many of the
protections of our contracts were negotiated specifically to prevent
employers from unilaterally changing them, and the company’s proposals are
geared toward giving management more control.
“For example, the
company cannot currently change benefits or increase premiums on retirees
without mutual agreement from our union, but the company’s insistence on
eliminating lag dates and selecting its vendors at its sole discretion pose
a great threat to our ability to protect our benefits in the future.
although the company has backed off its demand to reduce vacation rates of
pay, ArcelorMittal is now insisting on the right to force workers to
schedule vacations when it suits management.
“As we have pointed
out in previous updates and discussed at membership meetings, the company’s
demands would immediately lower the standards of living of our members and
retirees. These proposals are clearly designed to undermine our ability to
defend what we have earned in future negotiations.
“In order for us to
continue to fend off these demands and the company’s relentless and endless
attempts to reverse decades of collective bargaining progress, we must
continue to stand together.
“Thank you for your
overwhelming support throughout this process. We are proud to represent all
of you and remain absolutely confident in our ability to negotiate a fair
contract with this company as long as we stay united.”