PITTSBURGH, Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that workers represented by 14 local unions at ArcelorMittal USA facilities have ratified a three-year contract. A tellers committee of local union delegates counted ballots today at the union's international headquarters, with 94% cast in favor of the new agreement.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard attributed the overwhelming vote in favor of the contract to the hard work of the union's negotiating committee and called the agreement a clear triumph for ArcelorMittal's current and future workers and retirees.
"The unity and solidarity of all steelworkers at ArcelorMittal all summer long gave our negotiating committee the leverage it needed to reach a fair agreement," Gerard said, "despite the company's determined efforts to force major economic and contract language concessions until the very end."
USW District 1 Director David McCall, who chairs negotiations with ArcelorMittal, said that the company's focus on short-term profits instead of long-term sustainability created many challenges at the table and that management must recognize that its highly skilled, productive and efficient hourly workforce is its most valuable asset.
"The hardworking men and women whose selfless dedication and personal sacrifices over the years prevented these plants from being shut down or scrapped in the past have earned a more secure future and deserve an employer that shows its respect by bargaining in good faith and honoring its promises rather than demanding unnecessary concessions and threatening our jobs," McCall said. "Because we steelworkers stood together and spoke with a unified voice at every ArcelorMittal facility across the country and at the bargaining table in Pittsburgh, we defended our contract, maintained our wages and benefits and succeeded in winning improvements."
USW District 7 Director Jim Robinson said that workers will remember the company's combative approach to 2012 negotiations and will be thoroughly prepared for talks with ArcelorMittal in 2015.
"The steelworkers whose jobs, pay and benefits we defended from the company's vicious attacks know that our solidarity makes us a stronger union," Robinson said. "We anticipate challenges over the next three years and beyond, and our experience this summer gives us confidence that as long as steelworkers stand up and fight back together, we will accomplish our goals."
The USW is North America's largest industrial union, representing 850,000 workers in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries.
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)