PITTSBURGH, Sept. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that 13 local unions representing about 15,000 workers unanimously granted their negotiating committee the authority to implement a strike against ArcelorMittal if necessary.
"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 USW International President Leo W. 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."
USW District 1 Director David McCall, who chairs negotiations with ArcelorMittal, said that the company's union-represented production, maintenance, office and technical workers are uniformly fed up with management's attempts to reduce, eliminate, undermine and weaken contractual protections and benefits hard-won through generations of collective bargaining.
"ArcelorMittal can easily afford to negotiate fair labor agreements with us, but the company has instead insisted on concessions that would more than wipe out any pay increases in its proposal," McCall said. "Management has even failed to address some of our non-economic proposals and ignored most of the local issues we have brought to the table, demonstrating a fundamental lack of respect for the men and women upon whose shoulders rests the company's past, present and future success."
McCall added that although the union would prefer to resolve the outstanding issues without a work stoppage, USW members have delivered a clear message through their overwhelming support of strike authorization.
"We are organized and mobilized and will not allow ArcelorMittal to bully us into accepting anything less than the fair contracts we have earned and deserve," McCall said. "These are jobs worth fighting for, and we intend to keep it that way."
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)