Chesterton Tribune



USW says it may have little choice but to strike ArcelorMittal

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The United Steelworkers (USW) said today, in a lengthy communique, that it may have no choice but to strike ArcelorMittal, as the union’s “frustration with management’s negative attitude and unwillingness to reward us for our efforts is growing by the day.”

The USW noted that, following the membership’s vote in September to authorize a strike--if necessary--negotiators returned to Pittsburgh optimistic that “the company had a new attitude.”

Such, the USW said, has not been the case. “Unfortunately, while our union has pursued every option to avoid a work stoppage, ArcelorMittal’s persistent, onerous, and unnecessary demands for concessions may leave over 12,000 members with little choice.”

Excerpts from the communique:

“ArcelorMittal’s deeply concessionary demands are unfair and unnecessary. At a time when the company, like the rest of the industry, is making more money faster than any of them can remember, management ignores our many years of sacrifice and seeks further concessions attacking our healthcare plans, bonus payments, security issues, and other important benefits. The union has sacrificed wages over many years to maintain decent healthcare coverage. We have stepped up to help the company significantly reduce its operating costs. Our members and retirees have endured layoffs and losses. In many cases, our pain has been very real personally, in our steel communities and within the businesses we support.

“Arcelor is selling their steel at near-record prices that have not been realized in the domestic industry for over a decade. They have paid themselves bonuses while the company struggled in the past and while the unionized workforce agreed to forgo wage improvements. They are once again very profitable and stable and have chosen foolishly to pick a fight with us. Management’s behavior is inexplicable and unacceptable, and they are provoking a confrontation that baffles industry observers and threatens their customer base, communities where they operate, and obligations to stakeholders. Rather than constructively pursuing a settlement that would allow the company, its workers, and stakeholders to share in the gains of a strong American steel industry, ArcelorMittal management is provoking a work stoppage that promises to bring pain in the communities in which it operates.

“Stay strong and in support of your committees. We will succeed in our goals as long as we are united.”

The USW’s contract with both ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel Corporation expired on Sept. 1. The union and the two companies subsequently agreed to extend those agreements, with the understanding that either party has the right to terminate the extension after giving 48-hour notice.



Posted 10/12/2018





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