Steel Mills

USW Ratifies Labor Deal with Cliffs Steelmaking Operations

Written by David Schollaert

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and the United Steelworkers (USW) union announced they have agreed to a new labor deal after USW members ratified the terms of a new, four-year collective agreement.

cliffs natural resourcesThe USW-represented employees — roughly 12,0000 across 13 Cliffs steelmaking facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, and Minnesota — voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of ratifying the new “historic” labor pact.

The new deal features major wage and benefit improvements, said David McCall, USW International administrative vice president.

“Thanks to the solidarity of USW members, activists, and local union leaders, our work will be safer and pay more without sacrificing the security of our jobs,” said McCall.

“Cleveland-Cliffs is a people-oriented company,” said Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs chairman, president, and CEO in a news release. “These labor agreements, covering more than half of our entire workforce, support that statement.”

The new labor pact is effective Sept. 1 and includes a 20% base wage increase, improvements in insurance benefits for active and retired workers, enhanced pensions, and vacation and parental paid leave provisions.

“Our negotiating committee is proud that we won a fair contract that improves the standard of living for thousands of USW members and their families now and in the future,” said Tom Conway, USW International president.

As part of the new deal, Cliffs will also invest $4 billion in its USW facilities during the contract term to improve production and create sustainable jobs for future generations of steelworkers, Conway said.

“Our workforce has made these past two years possible, including navigating a monumental transformation and growth, overcoming the challenges of a pandemic, and adapting to an ever-changing business climate,” added Goncalves. “Going forward, we will continue to promote our employees’ well-being as the basis of our success, for the benefit of our clients and our long-term shareholders.”

Separately, about 2,000 union members at Cliffs mining and pelletizing locations in northern Minnesota and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan ratified a new four-year labor pact on Friday, Sept. 30.

Meanwhile, talks between US Steel Corp. and the USW on a new labor pact remain tense with little-to-no progress since master bargaining began in mid-July. They are now in their fourth month of bargaining and negotiations are now a month past the original Sept. 1 contract expiration.

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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