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.
ArcelorMittal’s proposal to begin charging active employees a monthly
healthcare premium would cost members more than $36 million annually.
“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).
layoff minimization plan requirements.
* Modifying justice
and dignity (J&D) to discharges only.
* Modifying current
MOU manning levels and contracting-out language.
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.
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.
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.”
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.