“This week, our
negotiating committee continued to meet both internally within our committee
and with ArcelorMittal management while 15,000 of our brothers and sisters
at U.S. Steel facilities across the country unanimously granted strike
“Three years ago,
when steel prices bottomed out due to the unfair and illegal trade,
management sought to unravel generations of collective bargaining progress
with contract demands designed to reduce our standards of living and destroy
the ‘safety nets’ negotiated to protect us from lay-offs and plant closures.
“We resisted those
concessions, and after almost 10 months of difficult negotiations, finally
reached an agreement that provided enough flexibility for the company to
survive the downturn--but more importantly--protected the security of our
jobs, earnings, benefits, and pensions.
“Since then, as one
of the results of our union fighting for the government to crack down on
trade cheaters, the market has rebounded. Further, steelworkers at
ArcelorMittal USA--already the most efficient workforce on the
planet--continued to improve productivity, and as a result the company has
enjoyed financial success.
engaging in good-faith negotiations for a fair contract, management
continues to bring the same 2015 backward-thinking proposals to the table,
which of course are crafted to undermine everything we have sacrificed to
“Judging from its
ridiculously inferior proposed healthcare plans and their refusal to make
meaningful improvements in wages or pensions and the concessionary demands
regarding supplemental unemployment, incentive, vacation pay, and our
hot-rolled steel bonus, ArcelorMittal clearly intends to test our solidarity
and our commitment to achieve a fair and equitable contract.
progress is not made by early next week”--the USW said on Friday
afternoon--“we will return home to deliver detailed reports at membership
meetings and seek your support for strike authorization. We will ask the
membership to vote after everyone has been given an opportunity to ask
questions and review information with their elected local leadership.
committee, after careful consideration, will determine if a strike is
necessary only if other strategic alternatives to bring the company to its
senses are unsuccessful.
“Our jobs are worth
fighting for thanks to the hard work and determination of those who came
before us. As long as we continue to work together and stand together to
fight for justice, we will win the contract we have earned and deserve.”