Chesterton Tribune



USW: USS Arcelor continue to seek concessions from union

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The United Steelworkers (USW) released new communiques on Friday about the status of contract talks with U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal.

“A significant step backward” is how the union is characterizing changes to contract language proposed by U.S. Steel.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal’s proposal to begin charging active employees a monthly healthcare premium would cost members more than $36 million annually.

U.S. Steel

“The changes the company is seeking include reductions in vacation pay, elimination of vacation bonuses, and increases in vacation eligibility requirements,” the USW said. “The company is also proposing to strip union workers of bidding rights, normal scheduling rights, and overtime pay after eight hours.”

In addition, the company “is seeking to modify our full-day and full-week guarantees to only four hours per day and 32 hours per week, increase severance pay eligibility requirements, and increase the length of our probationary periods.”

Finally, U.S. Steel has proposed these changes as well:

* Reducing to supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB).

* Modifying preferencing agreements.

* Eliminating layoff minimization plan requirements.

* Modifying justice and dignity (J&D) to discharges only.

* Modifying current MOU manning levels and contracting-out language.

“Our Contract Language Committee is reviewing all of the information the company has provided, while pressing them for more specifics so that we can develop productive responses,” the USW said.


Changes to medical coverage for active employees would include a $150 monthly premium for single coverage and $250 for family coverage, the union said, and those premiums would cost members more than $36 million per year.

“Although the company has identified that its benefits proposal would be a significant cost savings for them, they have not identified what their savings would be or how the savings would be achieved,” the USW said.

“Similarly, neither the company nor its vendors can provide evidence that the single program of benefits it has envisioned will provide coverage comparable to the current plans we have negotiated,” the union added. “However, their proposal would require major increases in our out-of-pocket expenses.”

“Management’s inability to answer or provide information in response to our committee’s basic questions regarding the company’s benefits proposal is dangerous,” the USW noted. “It is unclear if management even understands what it has proposed in many cases.”

“We must continue to show unity and solidarity at all locations and consistently deliver the message to all levels of ArcelorMittal management that we will not sacrifice our dignity or forfeit generations of collective bargaining process when the company has shown no interest in improving anything but shareholder value and the bank accounts of its executives,” the union concluded.



Posted 8/10/2015







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