Chesterton Tribune



USW / Arcelor contract talks off to rocky start in the New Year

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The United Steelworkers is urging members to remain solid and unified, after its negotiating committee reported continued intransigence in the New Year from ArcelorMittal at contract talks in Pittsburgh.

The USW released the following communique, the first of 2016.

“When USW 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.

“While 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.

“Similarly, 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.”




Posted 1/15/2016





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