Chesterton Tribune



USW insists on wage increases in new contract with US Steel

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The United 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 happen.

“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.

“Steel Strong’ 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.”


Posted 8/20/2018









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