“For the last six
weeks, our committee has been working to engage ArcelorMittal management in
good-faith negotiations, yet we received another predictably unacceptable
counterproposal from ArcelorMittal this week with little movement, if any,
on the company’s part.
“The company has
failed to address our need for wage and pension improvements, and management
continues to demand unreasonable and unnecessary healthcare concessions from
active members and retirees.
“Due to market
conditions in 2015, ArcelorMittal was not generating cash, and as a result,
we showed flexibility in bargaining an agreement that did not include wage
increases but protected the security of our jobs, earnings, and retirements.
changes we negotiated actually reduced the company’s costs without cutting
benefits or radical increases in out-of-pocket expenses for individual
members or retirees.
“Since then, we
have made dramatic improvements in productivity, and both ArcelorMittal USA
and the industry as a whole have turned around. As we have said before, the
company has generated significant cash since 2015. In fact, the market
forecast is positive for the foreseeable future.
“As the company
continues to thrive, we should not need to remind management that none of
the facilities currently owned by ArcelorMittal would be operating if it
weren’t for our hard work and the USW’s leadership in the decades-long
struggle for fair trade--yet that is precisely what we must do.
“Now more than
ever, we must stand together to fight for the fair contract that we have
earned and deserve. We are planning to hold gate rallies on Thursday, Aug.
30, at all of the plants to show management that we are united.
“As always, we urge
everyone to continue working safely and stay in contact with their Contract
Action Team while our committee continues to focus on engaging the company
in more productive talks in the few remaining days before our contract
expires on Sept. 1, and we will keep everyone updated on any additional
actions at the appropriate time next week.”
U.S. Steel Talks
Meanwhile, the USW
released two short statements this week on its contract talks with U.S.
Steel Corporation (USS).
The first, on
Tuesday: “USS is dragging their feet on counterproposals and economics. Some
progress on local issues, but some local issues still need work. Solidarity
The second, on
Thursday: “Awful proposal today from USS. Strips benefits. Increases
co-pays. Minimal wage increases. Promises of bonus complete under
(management) control. We are Steel Strong!”