Steel Mills

USW, USS reveal little after Friday meeting

Written by Laura Miller

Leadership of the United Steelworkers (USW) and U.S. Steel met on Friday to discuss the steelmaker’s pending sale to Nippon Steel Corp. (NSC).

Recall that the union asked for the dispute resolution process to begin in January. Friday’s meeting was part of this process.

U.S. Steel response

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker ensured the union that the deal with NSC “secures the long-term future of union jobs,” it said in a statement mid-day immediately following the meeting.

The two sides disagree as to whether U.S. Steel violated the Right-to-Bid provisions of the Basic Labor Agreement. U.S. Steel said it “fully complied” with the provisions, while the USW maintains their breach.

SMU asked the steelmaker and union what the next steps in the disagreement are. A USW spokesperson said they don’t have any additional details at this time. U.S. Steel had not responded by this story’s publication.

“We continue to work with the USW in good faith to resolve this dispute,” U.S. Steel noted.

“The lines of communication remain open between U.S. Steel leadership and its employees,” it added.

At the end of the statement, U.S. Steel provided a link to a new website: A collaboration between U.S. Steel and NSC, the website provides an array of information about the proposed sale of USS to NSC.

In a recent SEC filing, U.S. Steel said it requested the union sign a non-disclosure agreement when it informed the union of the formal review process on Sept. 5, 2023, but the USW never actually signed one. Without a confidentiality agreement, U.S. Steel counsel warned against sharing sensitive information with the union.

USW response

A few hours after USS released its statement on Friday, USW sent a memo to its members.

In it, the union revealed that on Sept. 8, 2023, then-international president Tom Conway sent an email to USS president and CEO David Burritt. The email included a draft agreement that, while also addressing confidentiality concerns, would have given the union an inside view into the sales process.

“Burritt never responded to President Conway’s email, something that Burritt himself will need to explain,” the union stated.

SMU asked USS and Burritt for comment on this. They had not responded by this story’s publication.

Commenting on how quickly U.S. Steel’s statement went out after the meeting, the union said in a letter to members: “USS posted its own spin before anyone in the meeting likely had finished the walk back to their offices, which tells you everything you need to know about U.S. Steel’s ongoing lack of interest in actually resolving the many disputes we have with them about the Nippon merger.”

Laura Miller

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