ArcelorMittal Walks Away from USW Negotiations
As indicated in yesterday’s text update, our committee delivered a comprehensive proposal to ArcelorMittal management that would meet the needs of active and retired Steelworkers while maintaining benefits and saving the company millions of dollars in expenses and liabilities.
The company’s response was not what we hoped. Instead of staying and engaging in good faith negotiations, management has walked away from the table. We are disappointed but not surprised, since management has drawn out the process every step of the way.
ArcelorMittal continues to demand major economic and non-economic concessions on many issues, such as vacation pay, incentive pay, sickness and accident benefits and transfer rights. The company refuses to consider any healthcare proposal that does not include monthly premium contributions for active employees and significant increases in the amount retirees already pay for their benefits while shifting everyone into plans with considerably less coverage and much higher deductibles.
We have been flexible and creative in addressing many of the concerns raised by management and in our commitment to working with the company to make our facilities safer and more productive.
Our union is at the forefront of the fight to stop unfair trade, and it seems management has forgotten that without our hard work and dedication, none of these facilities would have survived the industry crisis from 1998-2002, when 50 steel companies went bankrupt – including almost all of our previous employers.
Our committee is returning to our plants and will be providing important information and updates to the membership in the coming days. Please remember to stay focused on working safely and watching out for the safety of your coworkers.
Our strength comes from your continued support and solidarity, and we are confident that together we will achieve a fair contract.