Steelworkers (USW) is adamant that a new collective bargaining agreement
with U.S. Steel Corporation (USS) must include actual wage increases--not
simply “bonus schemes”--and has rejected a management proposal which the
union says would make healthcare costs onerous for current retirees and
prohibitively expense for future ones.
Those are the
highlights of a communique released after deadline on Friday, two weeks
exactly before the current three-year contract expires, on Sept. 1.
The text of the
communique in full:
“Our USW bargaining
team continued meeting this week with senior company officials from U.S.
Steel to discuss wages and benefits, among other issues. Local issue
discussions are wrapping up. The company has been slow to move in many
cases, but we are making progress in some areas.
“We made it clear
to the company this week that wage increases must be a part of our new
agreement and that we aren’t interested in the types of variable bonus
schemes that the company has been proposing in place of hourly increases. We
simply can’t rely on hypothetical income when our families have
ever-increasing living expenses that we have to meet.
“We already agreed
to go three years without an hourly increase. We know that made sense in
2015, but these are very different times. Even while our wages were
frozen, U.S. Steel management revised their compensation programs and gave
themselves bonuses while the company lost money. Now that the company is in
a position to do well in the coming years, we must make sure that workers
also share in that prosperity. We’ll need you to stand with us to make that
“Also this week,
U.S. Steel gave us a proposal that would make healthcare costs burdensome
for current retirees and nearly impossible for future retirees. We have
rejected that proposal in its entirety.
“Our CAT teams are
regularly circulating union literature among the membership--including
bargaining updates and this week’s ‘pigs at the trough’ cartoon. Make sure
to stay in touch with your CAT coordinators to be certain that you have the
latest information from the bargaining table. The only way we can achieve
the best possible contract is if we remain strong and united.
signs are on their way to local union halls now. Show your solidarity by
displaying signs in your car windows and carrying them when we have events
like plant gate rallies, marches, and Labor Day parades.”