Chesterton Tribune



USW calls USS proposal laughable as clock ticks

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The United Steelworkers (USW) has released details from what it’s calling the “insulting proposal” submitted on Thursday by U.S. Steel Corporation (USS), as contract talks continue in Pittsburgh.

The current three-year collective bargaining agreement expires in less than a week, on Sept. 1.

“We have included only some of the company’s proposal, which contains other concessions and ignores important areas that need attention,” the USW said in a communique released after deadline on Friday. “U.S. Steel calls this a ‘transformational’ proposal because in the future any wage increases and economic adjustments would come solely through their profit-sharing/bonus schemes.”

“After our many sacrifices and diligent work to keep this company in operation through tough times, and the misery our members have suffered in many locations, this is an extremely insulting proposal,” the USW added. “They talk of alignment with the bosses and then shave and ‘normalize’ the annual economics and profit-share proposal. The U.S. Steel wage proposal is so far off the mark it is laughable. With time running short, the company needs to come to its senses and make an honest and fair contract with the union and recognize the work we’ve done at U.S. Steel.”

Details from the proposal as released by the USW:

* Term of contract: seven years.

* Signing bonus: $1,500 to non-probationary employees as of Sept. 1, 2018.

* Wage increases: 3.25 percent general increase, effective Sept. 1, 2018; 2.0 percent, effective Sept. 1, 2019; 1.0 percent, effective Sept. 1, 2020; and years 4-7, annual lump-sum bonus opportunity of 0-5 percent of member’s earnings based on segment (flat-rolled or tubular) EBITDA, “versus annual targets established by and for management.” More: 80-percent starter rates for new hires into production jobs.

* Carnegie Pension: no increase.

* SPT Pension: no increase.

* Profit-sharing: profit calculated based on EBITDA (earnings before income tax, depreciation, and amortization). “Payment targets increased and harder to obtain.”

* Active healthcare: “Company wants unilateral ability to change insurance claims adjusters.” Current PPO plan design: “Increases co-insurance and doubling of deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums with family monthly premium of $210,”

* Sickness & Accident (S&A) Benefit: “S&A benefits eliminated for employees with 0-5 years of service,” while the length of coverage for employees with 5-10 years would be reduced from 52 to 26 weeks. Those with 20 years of service would get additional weeks.

* Retiree healthcare: “Benefits for current pre-Medicare retirees cut” and pre-Medicare premiums increased from $220 per month to $320 in 2019 and then $20 per month each year thereafter. New pre-Medicare retirement premiums would increase to $580 per month for 2019 and then by $50 each year.

* Workplace death: “Company to pay COBRA healthcare premiums for survivors for 36 months.

* Corporate governance: “Eliminate USW corporate protections: successorship, neutrality, right to bid, investment commitment, upstreaming, and lean management.”



Posted 8/27/2018




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