PITTSBURGH, Sept. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract with U.S. Steel covering more than 16,000 workers at its U.S. facilities.
The union and the steelmaker reached a tentative agreement shortly before the previous contract expired on Sept. 1, and voting was conducted by mail ballot over the past three weeks. Members ratified the contract by a margin of about four-to-one.
The new contract, which will run through Sept. 1, 2015, provides for 4.5 percent in wage increases over the next three years, and expands the union's influence on workplace issues such as civil rights, training, and health and safety.
"This contract was about building toward a lasting future," said International President Leo W. Gerard. "Today, the future is brighter for U.S. Steel employees and retirees because of all of the hard work that went into this agreement."
The new agreement protects health care benefits for retirees, which was one of the top issues for the two sides during bargaining. The contract makes some changes in plan design and increases contributions. Additionally, certain retirees will receive a series of cash payments.
"This is a fair agreement that ensures a stable future for workers, for retirees, and for the company," said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who led the negotiations for the union. "Both sides should be proud of the work they have done."
The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.