Feb. 3, 2016

USW Ratifies 3-Year Pact with U.S. Steel

Members of the United Steelworkers have ratified a new three-year contract with U.S. Steel covering 18,000 workers at more than a dozen facilities across the United States. USW members voted by a greater than 2-to-1 margin to approve the contract.

The two sides reached a tentative agreement in December after six months of often-difficult negotiations during an extremely challenging environment for steelmakers across the country. U.S. Steel's opening proposal contained demands for major cuts in pay and benefits, along with changes to work rules and other concessions that could have cost workers and their families thousands of dollars per year, USW claims. After agreeing to a contract extension, the two sides continued to exchange proposals well past the previous contract's Sept. 1 expiration date.

"The past year has been a difficult one for the steel industry, for USW members, and for manufacturing towns all across this country," says USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "The key to weathering this crisis is not to attack each other, but to work together to find solutions to our common problems—namely the severe imbalance and unfairness in our trade system. This must be our shared goal as we move forward."

While the new agreement includes modest changes to active and retiree health care coverage, the union was able to fend off the company's demands for significant premium contributions, as well as other large-scale out-of-pocket increases. The contract keeps wages at their current level, but includes an increase in the USW's profit-sharing percentage, which will allow workers to receive payments when the company bounces back from the current crisis. The agreement also resets supplemental unemployment benefits for laid-off workers.

"We are pleased with the outcome of the ratification vote. We believe this three-year agreement is in the best interest of our company, our employees and all of our stakeholders," says U.S. Steel President and Chief Executive Officer Mario Longhi.

The agreement, retroactive to Sept. 1, contains no-strike provisions and expires on Sept. 1, 2018. It provides for certain benefit adjustments for current and future employees and retirees, as well as modifications to the profit sharing plan beginning in 2016.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017