USW Votes To OK Strikes ‘If Necessary’
By Metal Center News Staff
on Sep 26, 2018
The United Steelworkers have voted to authorize bargaining committees to initiate a strike against both ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel, if the committee deems a strike is necessary. The votes were not a declaration of strikes against the two steelmakers.
The Steelworkers union’s previous three-year agreements with both steelmakers expired Sept. 1. The two companies employ roughly 31,000 union workers at their U.S. operations.
“These workers have made a number of sacrifices over the past several years – including three years with a wage freeze – to put this company back on track,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard after the U.S. Steel vote. “Now that U.S. Steel is expecting to make a profit of nearly $2 billion this year, it is time for the workers to share in the success U.S. Steel is seeing now.”
A week later, the union came to a similar determination with ArcelorMittal.
“The flexibility of our contracts and world-class efficiency and productivity of this particular group of steelworkers enabled ArcelorMittal to survive floods of unfairly traded and illegally dumped foreign imports that brought about the harshest market conditions our industry has faced in decades,” said Gerard. “Now that the company is generating enormous – even historic – amounts of cash, it is an insult that bargaining progress has been hindered by management’s unrealistic concessionary demands and unfair labor practices.”
In a release from ArcelorMittal on the vote, the company said, “It is important to note that this is not a declaration of a strike. Talks continue and we continue to work diligently to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion. Further, our plants continue to operate in a safe and orderly fashion.”
The union employees continue to work at both facilities under the terms of the previous contract.