Health Care Benefits Major Issue for Contract Negotiations

Written by Sandy Williams

The United Steel Workers received an outline of a contract proposal from US Steel Corp. and found it riddled with concessions that the USW says would “erode decades of contractural improvements and benefits.”

Health benefits seem to be a consistent theme in labor negotiations this year. US Steel is seeking to increase the minimum annual deductible to $2600 with out of out-of-pocket maximums up to $13,100 per year for families.

The USW negotiating committee at Allegheny Technologies Inc. just said no to a vote on a company proposal that included health care premiums of $215/month with a $1000/year deductible and $6000/per year out of pocket maximum.

ArcelorMIttal wants to initiate monthly premium contributions for active employees of $150 for single coverage and $250 for families. Under the previous contract, union employees paid no premiums at all.

In a recent blog, ArcelorMittal USA CEO Andrew Harshaw noted that most employees in comparable sized companies pay a premium equal to 22 percent of cost of medical coverage.

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