Labor negotiations continue to pause at US Steel, ArcelorMittal and ATI.
The USW bargaining committee has been holding meetings at US steel locations to review the union’s most recent proposal and the status of negotiations.
“Though there has been no significant progress to report on bargaining [with US Steel] in recent days, talks will continue, and we remain committed to bargaining for as long as it takes to reach a fair agreement,” said the USW in a Sept 18 update.
The USW continues to maintain that the steel companies are using the current difficult market conditions as “an excuse to gut our contract.”
No date has been set yet to resume talks at ArcelorMittal. Following the break off in talks, ArcelorMittal posted on its website that it looks forward to returning to the bargaining table:
“ArcelorMittal remains committed to the productive dialogue that we have had with the USW thus far and to further engaging with the USW to address the structural challenges facing the domestic steel industry and the impact that high labor costs have on our ability to successfully compete.
“Throughout our negotiations with the USW, ArcelorMittal has and will continue to stress the importance of achieving labor cost parity with our key competitors both in and outside of the steel industry so that we are not at an inherent cost disadvantage when competing in our core markets.
“ArcelorMittal looks forward to returning to the bargaining table with the USW soon so that we can achieve a new bargaining agreement that provides a path toward ensuring the collective future of all our stakeholders.”
A strike is not considered likely at ArcelorMittal or US Steel because workers are currently working under the expired contract at better terms than the steelmakers are offering. A lockout continues to be a possibility if the sides cannot reach an agreement.
Workers at Allegheny Technology Inc. are entering their sixth week of lockout by the company. On Sept. 11 the union and ATI met with a federal mediator but failed to come to any agreement. The USW has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations board charging that the lockout is illegal. ATI, in the meantime, is staffing its plants with replacement workers provided by Strom Engineering.
Union workers at ATI are reaching out for support from other unions. Workers are receiving unemployment benefits and funds from the USW’s strike/lockout fund as needed.
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