PITTSBURGH, April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that on Wed., April 27, 2016, the union reached tentative agreement on a new contract with ArcelorMittal USA on behalf of nearly 14,000 workers at 15 of the company's U.S. locations. Subject to a vote by the membership, the proposed agreement would expire on Sept. 1, 2018.
"After almost a year of difficult bargaining that continued eight months past the expiration of our previous contract, our committee's hard work and dedication have resulted in a tentative agreement with ArcelorMittal," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "Our members' unwavering solidarity throughout the bargaining process in the face of management's persistent demands for major cutbacks has been rewarded."
USW District 1 Director David McCall, who chairs the union's negotiations with ArcelorMittal, praised the leadership and membership at all of the facilities for standing together and resisting management's attempts to divide them.
"Early in the process, we committed to our members and retirees that we would not allow the company to use a temporary downturn in our industry as an excuse to reverse decades of collective bargaining progress," McCall said. "Thanks to the solidarity of USW members within and between all of our locals, we have negotiated a fair agreement that preserves our wages, benefits and other contractual protections without lowering the standard of living for current or future retirees."
USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap, secretary of the ArcelorMittal committee, added that local union leaders and activists gained valuable experience throughout the long, drawn-out bargaining process.
"For ten months, our brothers and sisters marched in the streets, rallied at their plant gates and delivered our message to management every step of the way," Millsap said. "Rather than allow the company to divide and conquer, our committee shared information to keep everyone informed, and our local union activists and leaders truly held everyone together."
In the coming weeks, the USW will schedule meetings to present the proposed new contract to members at each location and deliver a summary with mail-in ballots and instructions for the ratification vote.
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.