US Steel and the USW are continuing efforts to hammer out a deal at the bargaining table. In a Sept 10 update the USW said negotiations were progressing slowing with progress on some significant issues but with “unrealistic and unacceptable demands for concessions” on others.
Unacceptable to the union is a two tier plan that excludes employees hired after Jan. 1, 2016 from the current health plan and substitutes a high deductible plan similar to salaried workers. Current employee would pay deductibles and see higher copays, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximums.
US Steel has dropped the proposal to eliminate the current retiree medical plan for Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses but still proposes higher premiums and drug copays for Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses and substantial cost shifting for non-Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses.
The USW is also concerned about health and safety issues at the facilities and the practice of contracting out day-to-day maintenance without prior notification. Sickness and accident benefits would be denied to employees with less than three years of services. US Steel proposes changing profit sharing payments from quarterly to annually.
The USW encouraged members to remain strong through negotiations: “Solidarity – it is more than just a word or a song that we sing. It is what helped the generations of union members who came before us build the middle class.”
USW International Vice President Tom Conway released the following statement on Sept. 11 following a meeting with representatives of Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI).
“The USW met today with ATI with the participation of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) and made a proposal in an attempt to end the lockout. ATI failed to respond and maintained its position in its “last, best and final” offer.
“The USW remains ready to continue discussions and we call on ATI once again to come to their senses and settle a fair contract which would put our members back to work making steel.”
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