USW Resisting Changes Requested by ArcelorMittal USA
Negotiations continue between the United Steelworkers (USW) and ArcelorMittal USA as they strive to beat the midnight deadline on August 31st for a new contract. Over the past few weeks the union and management have been working on local issues. The big issues continue to remain unresolved. ArcelorMittal has taken a stance that their costs to do business in the United States are non-competitive with the other mills in North America. AMUSA has taken aim at the benefits package of their union workers as well as looking for flexibility in work hours as markets change and they are looking at eliminating retirement health care benefits for new hires (after September 1, 2012). With 17 days to go before the contract expires the company and union still have lots of work to accomplish.
The USW negotiating committee put out an update to the AMUSA union workers earlier today. Here is what the union is telling their workers regarding negotiations:
“Our fight to maintain our standard of living for ourselves, our families, and future generations of Steelworkers at ArcelorMittal continued last week, both at the negotiating table and in the plants. While your negotiators went head to head with management in Pittsburgh, we saw impressive showings of solidarity from the mines in the North to the mills in Pennsylvania and the Midwest to Georgetown and LaPlace in the South, with virtually every ArcelorMittal Steelworker putting on a sticker to send an unmistakable message to management that we are united and determined.
Our first sticker handout also featured a brochure that describes some of our victories of the past so that we can better understand how and why our struggle to negotiate a fair contract not only impacts us today but will shape the future.
Respecting our Past and Securing our Future means that ArcelorMittal needs to understand that our jobs, our families and our communities cannot allow management to use the global economic problems as an excuse to drive down our compensation and destroy the contract language protections we’ve fought for years to achieve.
Your Negotiating Committee is absolutely dedicated to bargaining with ArcelorMittal management for a fair contract that provides good wages, decent health care, and maintains a strong pension system. We need employment security, not subject to the whims of management; we need strong contract language protections, not a “trust us” attitude; and we need improved training and promotional opportunities, not worse.
With your continued support and expressions of solidarity, we will – as Steelworkers always have -prevail!
What we are fighting for:
Wages: Steelworkers at ArcelorMittal make a good living. We have nothing to be ashamed of - we work hard, and deserve to be well paid for what we do. The fact that others make less is unfortunate, but no reason for us to follow.
Health care: We have negotiated good health care benefits for ourselves and our families. While it is true that others contribute towards their health care, we have chosen to negotiate that we do not. And we see no reason to back off of that decision.
Pensions: A secure retirement -one where we can maintain our dignity without being a burden on our children - has been the goal of generations of workers. Thanks to our union we have achieved that goal, and have no intention of walking backward.” (USW Update for AMUSA workers dated 8-13-12)
Negotiations also continue between the USW and U.S. Steel. Both the USS and AMUSA contracts with their USW unions are set to expire at midnight, August 31, 2012.
Steel Market Update will continue to follow the course of the negotiations and keep our SMU newsletter subscribers and trial subscribers up to speed on not only the negotiations but how the steel community is responding to the potential threat of a work stoppage. You can become a subscriber or trial subscriber by registering on our website (there are links below this blog post) or by contacting us at: info@SteelMarketUpdate.com