The USW has a proud and long history of negotiating contracts on behalf of its members. In both good and bad economic times our Union has responded by negotiating contracts that address the concerns of our members and the realities of the economic environment. The Union has Industry Conferences and Company and Industry Councils that join locals unions together to negotiate pattern contracts in industries such as Paper, Steel, Aluminum and Tire.
We can point with pride to many innovations such as the Experimental Negotiating Agreement (ENA) that brought interest arbitration as the final resolution of bargaining issues rather than strikes to the Steel Industry. This approach allowed the employers to assure their customers that there would be an uninterrupted supply of steel. In the difficult times, with companies facing bankruptcy or in bankruptcy, we restructured agreements so that the employer would have competitive labor costs but continued to provide good wages and benefits to our members and allowed us to share in the profits when the company regained their financial strength.
In addition to working and preserving industry-wide contract patterns in USW agreements we also work with other International Unions as a way of increasing our negotiating strength. In our agreements we also negotiate worker/union participation language to provide greater input from our members in their working environment.
- Coordinated Bargaining In numerous cases, creating and preserving industry-wide contract patterns means coordinated bargaining. We work with other unions which also represent workers in the industry in an effort to create or preserve industry-wide or company-wide contract patterns.
- Worker/Union Participation The USW has negotiated Partnership Agreements with explicit rules and objectives in the Steel, Aluminum, Container, Mining and Rubber and Plastics Industries. USW contracts in other industries contain similar participative programs.