“The USW and
company have continued meeting a number of times over the past 32 hours.
Progress is coming slow and the company continues its financial engineering,
manipulation, and shifting the package around, but it’s always with the same
sleight-of-hand outcome of trading bonuses, benefits, and wages against each
“The other issues
of major contract language, protections, and benefit eligibility are still
on the table and are not being adequately addressed, but they are every bit
as important. We will continue to meet throughout the weekend and into next
week in an effort to find a solution to a fair contract.
“We have also made
it crystal clear to the company that they cannot try to buy a contract with
the active workforce that brings hardship to our retirees, nor one that
creates second-class citizens out of those new hires who will become members
of our union in the future. Those tactics are a waste of time, and it is
past time for them to abandon that fruitless approach to negotiations.
“Over the years, we
have paid for our benefit packages with light wage gains, while our health
was affected due to the conditions in the workplaces, and we lost family
time as a result of around-the-clock schedules. Those benefits aren’t for
committee is standing strong and resolute on these issues, and we are
prepared to fight for them no matter what shapes that fight takes. We all
sacrificed when the company was in need of help, but that is not the case
“Stay ready, safe,
and in touch with each other and your local union leadership and CAT teams.
We will exhaust every single possibility to find a solution that works for
us, as an entire union, before we take the steps to safely shut down the
plants and operations. But the company needs to know that we are prepared to
do so if they don’t start getting realistic about what they expect they can
accomplish in this round of bargaining.”
Friday the USW released a separate communique on a USS
proposal which the union said would permit the company to “align” members’
incentives with managements’.
issue: USS seeks “enabling language to modify and consolidate existing union
incentive plans to align goals with non-represented employees in the
Operations Incentive Plans (OIP).”
justifies its proposal to switch all hourly employees to the new and
ever-changing OIP as an effort to make sure that we are all ‘pulling on the
same oars together,’” the USW said. “But their proposal does not explain how
this would work. In fact, the proposal is simply for language that would
‘enable’ the company--without union involvement--to modify and consolidate
the existing union incentive plans however they see fit.”
“In short, if we
agree to this ‘enabling language,’ we don’t really know what we’re signing
up for,” the USW added. “And that seems like that’s management’s plan.”
“Giving U.S. Steel
a blank check to change your incentives at their whim jeopardizes your
earnings and is nothing more than another attempt by current management to
undermine your union,” the USW concluded.