Steel Mills

USW May Call for Strike Authorization at ArcelorMittal

Written by Sandy Williams

ArcelorMittal workers are contemplating a strike authorization after labor negotiations stalled last week. The USW complains that the company’s proposal does not measure up to the financial success that union workers helped ArcelorMittal achieve.

“Rather than 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 achieve,” wrote the USW in a Sept. 7 update to members.

“If significant progress is not made by early next week, we will return home to deliver detailed reports at membership meetings and seek your support for a strike authorization,” the USW added. A strike authorization received overwhelming approval from U.S. Steel workers last week and would buoy a similar authorization by union members at ArcelorMittal.

A prolonged strike by U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal would cause significant disruption to a steel market that is struggling to keep up with demand. Section 232 tariffs have caused shortages of some materials for downstream users, as well as dramatically increasing prices for domestic steel. 

The USW, U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal “have to work very hard to make sure there’s no interruption because the customers would ask Trump to suspend the [tariffs] if either U.S. Steel or ArcelorMittal were struck,” said John Tumazos, president of John Tumazos Very Independent Research in a comment to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Ultimately, our 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,” the USW told its members. “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 fair contract we have earned and deserve.”


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