USW Members Vote to Ratify Four-Year Contract with Cliffs

CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450,

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union voted by a 10-to-1 margin this week to ratify a new four-year contract with mining company Cleveland Cliffs.

The new four-year master agreement, which takes effect immediately, includes significant wage increases in each year of the contract, maintains high quality, affordable health care coverage and strengthens retirement benefits for the union’s 1,850 members at four iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota.

The previous agreement, which was negotiated during a difficult period for the iron ore and steel industries, contained a three-year wage freeze. 

“In 2015, these workers saw that the industry was struggling and agreed to make sacrifices so that this company could make it through the tough times,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Cliffs clearly recognized that, and we look forward to building on our relationship in the coming years.”

The USW began local-level talks with Cliffs over the summer and opened bargaining in early September on a new master agreement. The new contract replaces the three-year agreement that expired on Oct. 1.

“We were pleased we could work with Cliffs to reach an agreement that was fair to both sides,” said USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez, the chair of the union’s bargaining committee. “This contract puts the company in a position to succeed and ensures that the work force will be able to share in that success.”

The contract covers workers at the company’s Tilden and Empire Mines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as the United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite mines in Minnesota’s Iron Range.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222