Steel talks continue, union says strike option still on table
Post-Tribune staff report September 1, 2012 11:08PM
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:31AM
United Steelworkers said Saturday they’re continuing to work to reach a “fair contract.” The USW’s contracts with steelmakers ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel were set to expired at midnight.
On Friday, USW Local 1011 announced it wouldn’t strike against ArcelorMittal, which has plants in East Chicago and Burns Harbor, despite the stalled talks.
On Saturday, an update on the union’s website stated:
“We are continuing to work diligently to reach a fair contract, but we have no intention of agreeing to a contract that does not respect our past and secure our future. Remember, we have not taken the strike option off the table, only concluded that now is not the time.”
The union said it has not sought, nor been offered a contract extension.
On Friday, the union said ArcelorMittal backed off its demand that new employees not be entitled to pension benefits.
The contract covers about 14,000 employees in eight states.
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal wants to slash wages and benefits and have the unilateral right to cut wages during business slowdowns to remain competitive.
Meanwhile on Saturday, a USW spokesman in Pittsburgh, Pa., said the union and U.S. Steel were continuing talks and USW members would work through their shifts Saturday under the terms of the old contract.
U.S. Steel has plants in Gary and Portage.
That contract covers about 13,000 workers at U.S. Steel plants.