Steel Products Prices North America

Cleveland Cliffs and USW Reach Tentative Agreement

Written by Sandy Williams

Cleveland Cliffs and the United Steelworkers have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year labor contract that is effective as of Oct. 1, 2018.

Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and CEO, stated, “We are pleased to reach a new labor contract that is fair and equitable to both parties and provides Cliffs a competitive cost structure for future success. This agreement once again reinforces that we have more in common with the USW than we have differences, and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership.”

“It’s a landmark deal,” said Joe Fredrickson, president of USW Local 6860 at United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes. “It’s what happens when you have open dialogue. It’s what a team effort does. We really helped the company three years ago when times were tough and Lourenco Goncalves (Cliffs chairman, president and CEO) said there would be money available for us in the next contract. He was willing to make a deal and they did.”

“I think it’s the first time in history that we’ve been done before big steel,” said Chris Johnson, president of USW Local 2705 at Hibbing Taconite. United Steelworkers at ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel have yet to reach contract agreements and are currently working under an extended contract. Workers from both mills have authorized a strike should negotiations continue to stall.

“Lourenco is a man of his word,” said Johnson. “He shared the wealth, he really did.”

USW International President Leo Gerard congratulated Cliffs on “bargaining seriously to reach a fair agreement” with workers.

The agreement, which covers about 1,800 USW members in facilities in Minnesota and Michigan, must still be ratified by USW locals at a time to be determined.

Cleveland Cliffs is a major supplier of iron ore pellets to steel mills in North America.

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