Nippon's Public Relations Machine Continues to Sidestep Pressing Concerns

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Brothers and Sisters,

You will probably hear today from the Nippon/U.S. Steel public relations machine about a letter that Nippon sent this morning, and the companies will likely claim to have put to rest all concerns about the successorship obligations of the BLA.

When you hear from these companies, you will know that their claims are as credible as what our members have been hearing in the road show that David Burritt launched to win the hearts and minds of USW members.

Regardless of how Nippon and U.S. Steel may spin the letter, Nippon Steel continues to evade becoming a party to the BLAs and the pension and insurance agreements. And, what’s worse, today’s letter says nothing about Nippon’s previous promises, however flimsy, to make capital expenditures in our facilities, avoid layoffs, provide the USW with information to audit profit sharing, and other important concerns.

This backward step only heightens our concerns about Nippon’s takeover of U.S. Steel and the harm that will come to our members and retirees and to American steelmaking.

As it has done since December, Nippon again sidesteps our still pressing questions about upstreaming, profit sharing, whether it will continue the USS business plan of running away from basic steelmaking—instead prioritizing Big River and Big River II—and its refusal to discuss where or what kind of capital expenditures it will commit to implementing.

Nippon’s recent communication also failed to address the wider problems its ownership poses for our critical supply chains and national defense. America’s capacity to produce virgin steel from iron ore has already diminished with U.S. Steel’s shutdown of steelmaking at Great Lakes and the idling of steelmaking at Granite City.

Telling us everything we need to know about its intentions, Nippon’s recent arguments before the International Trade Commission, where it claimed that the Commission should end tin duties that protect American workers and allow more Japanese product to enter our markets because of the idling of U.S. tin operations, prove that for Nippon, when push comes to shove, it will prioritize its Japanese operations even at the expense of American jobs.

Meanwhile, USS continues to hold disinformation meetings as it desperately seeks to confuse and divide our membership over the potential sale, going so far as to suggest that David Burritt has an altruistic motive for selling out our jobs and our communities while cashing out and lining his own pocket with a reported $70 million.

Nippon and U.S. Steel will learn that we are not so easily misled. We will continue to fight to enforce our contracts and keep our communities and country safe. Please encourage your fellow members to sign up for updates by texting USS to 47486 and direct questions to your union leadership.

Mike Millsap
District 7 Director & Chairman of the Negotiating Committee

David McCall
International President