Steel Mills

USW still worried, even with Biden’s support in USS-Nippon deal

Written by Laura Miller

While it may have the support of President Biden, the United Steelworkers (USW) union remains concerned about the proposed sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon Steel Corp. (NSC).

On Fri., Feb. 2, the USW reported that it had been in communication with the White House regarding the potential sale.

“We received personal assurances that President Joe Biden has our backs,” the union wrote in a letter to its members. “He’s long demonstrated his commitment to American workers and our union, and we’re grateful for his close attention to this situation.”

The White House did not respond to SMU’s request for additional information.

USW meeting with U.S. Steel

The USW and U.S. Steel met on Friday to discuss the union’s grievances regarding contract violations as the steelmaker’s board seeks to sell the entire company to Japan’s NSC.

In the Feb. 2 letter to members, the union said the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker “showed little interest in solving problems, and indicated it will deny the grievances.”

One of the union’s issues with the proposed deal is that NSC’s Houston-based holding company, Nippon Steel North America (NSNA), will assume responsibility for the steelmaker’s labor contracts with the union.

However, the union says this is a violation of the successorship clause in its basic labor agreement that is meant to protect it from having contracts pushed down to subsidiary companies.

“While there was no resolution reached during the meeting, U.S. Steel will continue to participate in the process, maintaining that we not only complied with all requirements under the basic labor agreements, but also that the proposed acquisition by Nippon Steel is the best path forward for all employees,” USS said in statement after the meeting.

“Our USW-represented employees are an integral part of our operations today and in the future, and we look forward to continuing to work together collaboratively,” USS added.

At the time of this story’s publication, NSC had not responded to SMU’s request for comment.

Laura Miller

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