United Steelworkers dispute with ArcelorMittal spills into public view

  • October 23, 2018

The United Steelworkers union today disputed a public update of bargaining negotiations released by the steel company ArcelorMittal Monday, signaling that the two parties remain far from a contract agreement.

In dueling statements over the past 24 hours, ArcelorMittal and USW each suggested that the other was standing in the way of a final agreement. On Monday, ArcelorMittal said it presented the union with a four-year contract proposal with raises up to 4 percent a year and additional contributions to the Steelworkers Pension Trust.

“Based on publicly available information, we believe our offer is consistent with the pattern established by other industry participants and the USW,” the company said in a written statement.

USW, in a statement to members today, called the company’s description “incomplete” and “misleading,” pointing the finger directly at ArcelorMittal CEO John Brett.

“As always, ‘the devil is in the details,’ and of course, Brett doesn’t want to talk about them,” the union said. “He also claims the offer meets the industry pattern, but what he really means is that [ArcelorMittal’s] offer ‘cherry picks’ the industry pattern.”

United Steelworkers has authorized a strike against the company, accusing it of not passing on to workers an expansion in its profits attributable to President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. Last week, the company reached a tentative agreement with U.S. Steel, which together with ArcelorMittal accounts for 40 percent of the country’s flat-rolled steel production.