PITTSBURGH, Sept. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that its members have ratified a new, three year contract with Republic Steel that will set the terms and conditions of employment for about 1,000 hourly production, maintenance, office and technical workers at the company's five U.S. locations through its Aug. 16, 2019, expiration.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard commended workers in Lorain, Canton and Massillon, Ohio; Lackawanna, N.Y.; and Gary, Ind. for their unity and dedication throughout the bargaining process.
"Through no fault of their own, too many of our brothers and sisters have dealt with the uncertainty of an industry downturn brought about by decades of misguided trade policies," Gerard said. "We are looking forward to a more secure future with ratification complete and a fair collective bargaining agreement in place."
USW District 1 Director David McCall, who chairs the union's negotiations with Republic, said that the newly ratified agreement, retroactive to Aug. 15, 2016, preserves wages, benefits and other longstanding rights and protections without lowering the standards of living of current workers or retirees.
"The contract reflects the hard work and solidarity of our negotiating committee, activists and members at each of the facilities," McCall said. "Settling our differences with management at the table will enable both parties to focus on addressing the industry's real problems, such as global overcapacity and the unfair and often illegal foreign trade practices that depress prices, close plants and cost jobs."
USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap, secretary of the union's negotiating committee with Republic, said that the union is proud that the tradition of steel making at these facilities will continue.
"For generations, our families have worked in these plants and established a way of life," Millsap said. "We are confident that as long as we work together and fight for fair trade instead of free trade, the steel industry will continue to provide good jobs that support families and sustain communities with fair pay and benefits."
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)