PITTSBURGH (February 1) – Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union have ratified a new three-year contract with U.S. Steel that will cover 18,000 workers at more than a dozen facilities across the United States. USW members voted by a greater than 2-to-1 margin to approve the contract, which will take effect immediately.
The two sides reached a tentative agreement in December after six months of often difficult negotiations during an extremely challenging environment for steelmakers across the country. U.S. Steel’s opening proposal contained demands for major cuts in pay and benefits, along with changes to work rules and other concessions that could have cost workers and their families thousands of dollars per year. After agreeing to a contract extension, the two sides continued to exchange proposals well past the previous contract’s Sept. 1 expiration date.
While the new agreement includes modest changes to active and retiree health care coverage, the union was able to fight off the company’s demands for significant premium contributions, as well as other large-scale out-of-pocket increases. The contract keeps wages at their current level, but includes an increase in the USW’s profit-sharing percentage, which will allow workers to receive payments when the company bounces back from the current crisis. The agreement also resets supplemental unemployment benefits for laid-off workers.
“The past year has been a difficult one for the steel industry, for USW members, and for manufacturing towns all across this country,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “The key to weathering this crisis is not to attack each other, but to work together to find solutions to our common problems - namely the severe imbalance and unfairness in our trade system. This must be our shared goal as we move forward.”
Over the past year, illegally low-priced imports from China and elsewhere, along with global overcapacity and a decline in oil and gas drilling brought on by lower fuel prices, drove prices and demand for steel down and led U.S. Steel and other companies to idle plants and lay off workers at factories around the country.
“I am extremely proud of the solidarity and the commitment to fairness that the Steelworkers showed throughout this process,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who led the union’s bargaining committee. “These hard-working men and women were determined not to be made scapegoats for what is a global crisis.”
Mike Millsap, who serves as USW District 7 director and secretary of the bargaining committee, said the union looked forward to working with U.S. Steel to address the industry’s trade imbalance and to position the company and its work force for future success.
“We are proud of the productive relationship we’ve built with U.S. Steel,” Millsap said. “We hope to build on it as we move forward from what has been a very challenging year.”
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments.
A message from President McCall - Please fill out and mail your ballots no later than Tuesday, January 26!
Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: 1066 Union Hall
Final Discussion before contract ballot and voting! Any questions....PLEASE ATTEND!
Contract informational meetings Wednesday, December 23 at 8 am and 4 pm. at the 1066 Union Hall.
Is your local opposing the TPP? Make it official by joining on the coalition letter with our allies from Citizens Trade Campaign. (note: this is for locals, not individuals)
The text of the letter is below. Click on the link to sign and show your local's opposition to this bad deal!
Dear Representative / Senator:
We urge you to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a binding pact that poses significant threats to American jobs and wages, the environment, food safety and public health, and that falls far short of establishing the high standards the United States should require in a 21st Century trade agreement.
If enacted, the TPP would set rules governing approximately 40% of the global economy, and includes a “docking” mechanism through which not only Pacific Rim nations, but any country in the world, could join over time. The questions policymakers should be asking about these rules is whether, on the whole, they would create American jobs, raise our wages, enhance environmental sustainability, improve public health and advance human rights and democracy. After careful consideration, we believe you will agree, the answer to these questions is no.
Our opposition to the TPP is broad and varied. Below are just some of the likely effects of the TPP that we find deeply disturbing.
Offshoring U.S. jobs and driving down wages.
The TPP would offshore more good-paying American jobs, lower wages in the jobs that are left and increase income inequality by forcing U.S. employers into closer competition with companies exploiting labor in countries like Vietnam, with workers legally paid less than 65 cents an hour, and Malaysia, where an estimated one third of workers in the country’s export-oriented electronics industry are the victims of human trafficking.
The TPP replicates the investor protections that reduce the risks and costs of relocating production to low wage countries. The pro-free-trade Cato Institute considers these terms a subsidy on offshoring, noting that they lower the risk premium of relocating to venues that American firms might otherwise not consider.
And the TPP’s labor standards are grossly inadequate to the task of protecting human rights abroad and jobs here at home. The countries involved in the TPP have labor and human rights records so egregious that the “May 10th” model — which was never sufficient to tackle the systemic labor abuses in Colombia — is simply incapable of ensuring that workers in Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia and all TPP countries will be able to exercise the rights they are promised on paper. Even if the labor standards were much stronger, the TPP is also so poorly negotiated that it allows products assembled mainly from parts manufactured in “third party” countries with no TPP obligations whatsoever to enter the United States duty free.
The TPP contains none of the enforceable safeguards against currency manipulation demanded by a bipartisan majority in both chambers of Congress. Thus, the often modest tariff cuts achieved under the pact for U.S. exporters could be easily wiped out overnight by countries’ willingness to devalue their currencies in order to gain an unfair trade advantage. Already, the TPP includes several notorious currency manipulators, and would be open for countries such as China to join.
In addition, the TPP includes procurement requirements that would waive “Buy American” and “Buy Local” preferences in many types of government purchasing, meaning our tax dollars would also be offshored rather than being invested at home to create jobs here. Even the many Chinese state-owned enterprises in Vietnam would have to be treated equally with U.S. firms in bidding on most U.S. government contracts. The pact even includes financial services provisions that we are concerned might be interpreted to prohibit many of the commonsense financial stability policies necessary to head off future economic crises. The TPP is a major threat to the U.S. and global economy alike.
Undermining environmental protection
The TPP’s Environment Chapter rolls back the initial progress made in the “May 10th” agreement between congressional Democrats and President George W. Bush with respect to multilateral environmental (MEAs) agreements. The TPP only includes an obligation to “adopt, maintain, and implement” domestic policies to fulfill one of the seven MEAs covered by Bush-era free trade agreements and listed in the “Fast Track” law. This omission would allow countries to violate their obligations in key environmental treaties in order to boost trade or investment without any consequences.
Of the new conservation measures in the TPP, most have extremely weak obligations attached to them, requiring countries to do things such as “exchange information and experiences” and “endeavor not to undermine” conservation efforts, rather than requiring them to “prohibit” and “ban” destructive practices. This stands in stark contrast to many of the commercial obligations found within the agreement.
The TPP’s controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system would enable foreign investors to challenge bedrock environmental and public health laws, regulations and court decisions as violations of the TPP’s broad foreign investor rights in international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems — a threat felt at home and throughout the Pacific Rim.
Despite the fact that the TPP could threaten climate policies, increase shipping emissions and shift U.S. manufacturing to more carbon-intensive countries, the TPP fails to even include the words “climate change.”
Jeopardizing the safety of the food we feed our families
The TPP includes language not found in past pacts that allows exporters to challenge border food safety inspection procedures. This is a dire concern given the TPP includes countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia that export massive quantities of shrimp and other seafood to the United States, significant amounts of which are now rejected as unsafe under current policies.
As well, new language in the final text replicates the industry demand for a so-called “Rapid Response Mechanism” that requires border inspectors to notify exporters for every food safety check that finds a problem and give the exporter the right to bring a challenge to that port inspection determination. This is a new right to bring a trade challenge to individual border inspection decisions (including potentially laboratory or other testing) that second-guesses U.S. inspectors and creates a chilling effect that would deter rigorous oversight of imported foods.
The TPP additionally includes new rules on risk assessment that would prioritize the extent to which a food safety policy impacts trade, not the extent to which it protects consumers.
Rolling back access to life-saving medications
Many of the TPP’s intellectual property provisions would effectively delay the introduction of low-cost generic medications, increasing health care prices and reducing access to medicine both at home and abroad.
Pharmaceutical firms obtained much of their agenda in the TPP. This includes new monopoly rights that do not exist in past agreements with respect to biologic medicines, a category that includes cutting edge cancer treatment. The TPP also contains requirements that TPP nations allow additional 20-year patents for new uses of drugs already under patent, among other rules that would promote the “evergreening” of patent monopolies. Other TPP provisions would enable pharmaceutical companies to challenge Medicare drug pricing decisions and constrain future U.S. policy reforms to reduce healthcare costs.
With this agreement, the United States would shamefully roll back some of the hard-fought protections for access to medicine in trade agreements that were secured during the George W. Bush administration. Indeed, the pact eviscerates the core premise of the “May 10th” reforms that poor nations require more flexibility in medicine patent rules so as to ensure access. All of the TPP’s extreme medicine patent rules will apply equally to developing countries with only short transition periods for application of some of the rules.
Elevating investor rights over human rights and democracy
Contrary to Fast Track negotiating objectives, the TPP’s Investment Chapter and its ISDS system would grant foreign firms greater rights than domestic firms enjoy under U.S. law. One class of interests — foreign firms — could privately enforce this public treaty by skirting domestic laws and courts to challenge U.S. federal, state and local decisions and policies on grounds not available in U.S. law and do so before extrajudicial tribunals authorized to order payment of unlimited sums of taxpayer dollars. Under the TPP, compensation orders could include the “expected future profits” a tribunal determines that an investor would have earned in the absence of the public policy it is attacking.
Worse, the TPP would expand U.S. ISDS liability by widening the scope of domestic policies and government actions that could be challenged. For the first time in any U.S. free trade agreement, the provision used in most successful investor compensation demands would be extended to challenges of financial regulatory policies. The TPP would extend the “minimum standard of treatment” obligation to the TPP’s Financial Services Chapter’s terms, allowing financial firms to challenge policies as violating investors’ “expectations” of how they should be treated. Meanwhile, the “safeguard” that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) claims would protect such policies merely replicates terms that have failed to protect challenged policies in the past.
In addition, the TPP would newly allow pharmaceutical firms to use the TPP to demand cash compensation for claimed violations of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on creation, limitation or revocation of intellectual property rights. Currently, WTO rules are not privately enforceable by investors.
With Japanese, Australian and other firms newly empowered to launch ISDS attacks against the United States, the TPP would double U.S. ISDS exposure. More than 1,000 additional corporations in TPP nations, which own more than 9,200 subsidiaries here, could newly launch ISDS cases against the U.S. government. About 1,300 foreign firms with about 9,500 U.S. subsidiaries are so empowered under all existing U.S. investor-state-enforced pacts. Most of these are with developing nations with few investors here. That is why, until the TPP, the United States has managed largely to dodge ISDS attacks to date.
In these, and multiple other ways, the TPP elevates investor rights over human rights and democracy, threatening an even broader array of public policy decisions than described above. This, unfortunately, is the all-too-predictable result of a secretive negotiating process in which hundreds of corporate advisors had privileged access to negotiating texts, while the public was barred from even reviewing what was being proposed in its name.
The TPP does not deserve your support. Had Fast Track not become law, Congress could work to remove the misguided and detrimental provisions of the TPP, strengthen weak ones and add new provisions designed to ensure that our most vulnerable families and communities do not bear the brunt of the TPP’s many risks. Now that Fast Track authority is in place for it, Congress is left with no means of adequately amending the agreement without rejecting it entirely. We respectfully ask that you do just that.
Thank you for your consideration. We will be following your position on this matter closely.
Manufacturing is the foundation for our national security. To keep our nation safe and secure, we must make sure that our servicemen and women can rely on their equipment and depend on it being there to protect them. Tell Congress and the President to make access to high-quality American-made arms and equipment their top priority.
Sunday, December 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 6;00 p.m.
Pick up your tickets at the union hall 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. November 30 to December 9.
Contract with US Steel Remains in Effect
(November 13) While we look forward to continuing our negotiations with U.S. Steel in the near future, we remind all of our brothers and sisters that, as we have since Sept. 1, we are continuing to work under an extension of our existing contract with the company. While this extension is in effect, the company remains bound by our basic labor agreement, including our grievance procedure and other important provisions.
Active & Retiree Health Care
As you know, one of the major issues in these negotiations has been maintaining quality, affordable health care coverage for our members, families and retirees. The company has proposed major changes that could cost Steelworkers and their families thousands of dollars more per year. We will continue to fight back against the company’s repeated demands for unnecessary cost increases when we return to the bargaining table.
This week, the company sent letters to our retired members that could cause some concern about changes and possible cost increases to retiree benefits in the upcoming year. In the letters, the company announced a Dec. 16 deadline for open enrollment for retiree benefits and warned of potentially substantial premium increases. We urge anyone with questions to contact the company’s benefits service center at the number or e-mail address provided in the letter.
We are committed to bargaining an agreement that ensures fair treatment for our members and retirees, and we are hopeful that we can head off the “worst case scenario” premium increases the company threatened in its letter this week. We will continue to keep everyone informed about this situation as bargaining continues.
Stand Up for Fair Trade
The current crisis in our industry has made for a difficult round of bargaining, but it isn’t just a problem for American steel producers. Steelworkers around the world are facing problems due to the flood of unfair imports. Last week, the USW joined 17 steel unions from 10 countries calling for aggressive government action against China’s illegal trading practices. You can join our call to action by visiting https://actionnetwork.org/forms/its-time-for-global-fair-trade-policies.
Stay in Touch, Work Safe
Please continue to work safely, stay strong and stay in touch with your CAT coordinators and local officers. We will alert you as soon as there are any developments to report related to bargaining.
Your 2015 U.S. Steel Bargaining Committee
Bargaining With U.S. Steel Resumes in Pittsburgh
(September 29) – After spending a few weeks gathering feedback from our brothers and sisters in our locals around the country, our USW bargaining committee returned to Pittsburgh on Monday, Sept. 28, to resume negotiations with U.S. Steel.
Our bargaining team met among themselves and with company representatives for several hours on Monday, discussing a wide range of issues, including active and retiree health care, contracting out and health and safety. While significant differences remain on each of these issues, we believe we are making progress, and we will continue to work hard to reach a fair agreement.
We continue to exchange proposals with the company and review a number of options regarding health care for both pre-Medicare and Medicare-eligible retirees. Our goal continues to be making sure both our active employees and retirees have access to quality, affordable health care, and we will continue to push back against the company’s demands for deep concessions.
We plan to exchange proposals later this week with U.S. Steel on the issue of contracting out.
Health & Safety
We have expressed our concerns with the company about health and safety-related issues and pressed the company on its plans to address these problems. Unfortunately, U.S. Steel continues to insist on having full control over our union safety representatives.
Our committee will continue to meet among ourselves and with U.S. Steel to discuss these and other issues as this week progresses, and we will keep you up to date on any developments as our talks continue. Stay strong, keep working safely, and remember to keep in touch with your CAT coordinators!
Your 2015 U.S. Steel Bargaining Committee
SEPT 10, 2015
U.S. Steel Continues to Demand Cuts
(September 10) – Our USW bargaining committees are continuing to meet regularly among themselves and with U.S. Steel representatives this week in Pittsburgh in an effort to reach a fair contract settlement.
The progress we’ve made so far this summer has come slowly, and we know that has been frustrating, both for those of us in Pittsburgh and for our brothers and sisters at home who are hungry for information about what is happening at the bargaining table. While we have made some progress on significant issues, the company continues to insist on a number of unrealistic and unacceptable demands for concessions.
Active Health Care
U.S Steel has proposed dramatic benefit cuts and employee health care premiums for active employees and a two-tier high-deductible health plan for new hires.
For current employees, the company’s proposal would add deductibles, increase employee copays, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums and charge up to nearly $3,300 per year for family coverage by 2018. A family could face up to $6,300 in premiums and out-of-pocket costs if more than one family member had serious health conditions in a year. These costs would be even higher for out-of-network services. The company also proposes to charge another $150 per month for spousal coverage if an employee’s spouse is offered coverage by an employer.
Under the company’s proposal, employees hired on or after January 1, 2016, would be excluded from the current health care plan and shoved into a high-deductible health plan similar to the plan that covers salaried employees.
The high-deductible plan has slightly lower monthly premiums, but exposes employees and their families to the risk of large out-of-pocket expenses. For example, under the company’s proposal, by 2018 a new hire with a family would pay premiums of almost $3,000 per year and potentially face up to an additional $6,000 per year in out-of-pocket costs.
The proposal is designed to create a two-tier compensation scheme that will make it harder to bargain benefits, create resentment and undermine our solidarity. Since these employees haven’t even begun work, there are no labor cost savings -- but the seeds of division are sown.
Retiree Health Care
The company has modified its stance on retiree health care benefits and is no longer proposing to eliminate the current retiree medical plan for Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses. However, U.S. Steel continues to propose higher premiums and drug copays for Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses and substantial cost shifting for non-Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses.
Health Security for All
Health care is an important issue. We work hard. Work in a steel mill is difficult and often dangerous. It takes its toll. We deserve quality health care for ourselves and our families. Our wages shouldn’t be eaten up by premiums, and we shouldn’t face ruin due to an unexpected hospital admission.
Health & Safety
We continue to have concerns about a number of health and safety related issues across all U.S. Steel facilities and about what the company’s plans are to address these issues. We have met regularly with company representatives to address these matters. Unfortunately, U.S. Steel continues to insist upon having their own input on the direction of our union safety representatives.
The company continues to pursue contract language changes on contracting out. U.S. Steel wants the right to contract out day-to-day maintenance with no notification. We remain determined not to open the door to more contractors.
U.S. Steel has proposed changes to the profit sharing plan which would reduce the frequency of the payments from quarterly to annually.
S & A Benefits
The company proposes to deny Sickness & Accident benefits to employees with less than three years of service. Currently, employees are eligible for S & A coverage 60 days after their date of hire.
Investment in Our Mills
Our committee has proposed that U.S. Steel commit to making significant capital investments in equipment and upgrades (not just routine maintenance) in our mills. We believe negotiating for investment in our mills is an important and effective way to maintain good, family-sustaining jobs and keep our facilities competitive in the global market.
We know that for many members, this might be your first experience with negotiations that have continued past our contract’s original expiration date. Please remember that the terms and conditions of our 2012 agreement remain in effect. If you have any questions about your rights, please speak to a CAT coordinator or refer to our online fact sheet on What Could Happen on September 1.
Solidarity Now & Forever
Solidarity – it is more than just a word or a song that we sing. It is what helped the generations of union members who came before us build the middle class. Now, we need to strengthen our solidarity more than ever if we are going to achieve a fair contract and make sure our jobs can continue to support our families and communities. We will need every member in every USW local union across the country to stand together.
Please keep in touch with your CAT coordinators for the latest information on bargaining, as well as news about upcoming mobilization events.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken our message to the streets and gotten an overwhelmingly positive response. Now, we need to keep that momentum going in our plants and in our communities if we are going to win this fight.
Your 2015 U.S. Steel Bargaining Committee
These meetings are for 1066 members only!
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
UNION MEETING WILL STILL BE ON SEPT. 16 at 4:00 p.m.
As this week has progressed, very little has changed in terms of contract negotiations. If any progress has been made from the company’s original proposals, it would be measured in centimeters. The company has only brought forth changes that would benefit them and destroy over 75 years of progress by this Union.The company wants to lower incentives,take back the 40 hr. guarantee, change vacation eligibility,putting healthcare costs onto retirees, add premiums to our actives while increasing out-of-pocket expenses, increasing deductibles further injuring the financial stability of our families, remove the 60 hr. opportunity for maintenance employees yet contract out as they please, and the list goes on. All of the company’s delusional requests have been released in the USW updates that go out via txt and/or email and have been posted on the web. Please, once again take advantage of these update methods. The Presidents and Bargaining Committee have been committed to using this method of updating the members on our status.
The Union as a collective, from top to bottom, has done a very good job of letting Arcelor/Mittal and US Steel know that we will not settle on any of these concessions when there is bound to be a recovery in the steel industry. Dave McCall, Tom Conway, Mike Millsap and the Bargaining Committees have the experience and leadership necessary to carry us through these difficult times. These companies would rather cry poor mouth while we are in a down cycle, yet pay huge compensation packages to their Board of Directors. The steel industry is cyclical. Certain trade cases against foreign dumping of Hot Rolled and other steel products may come in our favor that will help our position at the table. For now we work under the full provisions of our current contract, pension and benefit agreements. We will continue to work and put food on our tables, as opposed to not. It would be foolish and disruptive to many families and people in our community to go on strike at this point. But we reserve that right within a 48 hr. notice if the discussions fall apart. At this point as long as we continue to meet and talk, we work.
Many ask, what are the Union’s counter proposals? We are proposing minor changes to the existing contract language that benefit or improve upon our members bidding rights, guaranteed safety in the workplace, and pay that is fair. Our proposals concerning healthcare are consistent with the coverages we currently enjoy today with a few corrections to some of the problems with administrative issues of our plan. All along the story has been the same. Our solidarity and patience is how “We shall overcome,” and we shall! Everyone has feelings of uncertainty and the desire to stand on solid ground. With this Bargaining Committee’s strategy I have faith that we will soon feel comfort in the sureties of our future. Stand Tall Brothers and Sisters, We Are Steelworkers and WE shall succeed by Standing Up and Fighting back One Day Longer and One Day Stronger than the company! I was told the other day that God is on our side because our cause is righteous, and I have faith in that truth.
Labor Day Parade in Lowell, Indiana on Monday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m.
Good Day All. As we get close to the deadline of our contract it’s important to know that the Bargaining Committee is determined to get a fair contract for our retirees and active members. We will continue to go to work while we seek a fair contract. As long as the company continues to make progress and “bargain in good faith” we will continue to swipe in to work. We would all like to see this through and it’s important to continue to Stand Up and Fight Back! We continue to possess the rights of our current BLA, including the right to strike if necessary. This round of bargaining affects our families, retirees and the community as a whole. There are many possible strategies, and the one we are currently choosing is the most responsible. If anything changes the members will be immediately informed of the next move. I believe that once we get over a few hurdles we will be able to quickly resolve others. All information of the company’s actions in this round of bargaining have come out in the bargaining updates. At the August union meeting, all questions were answered until everyone was done. I am very committed to making sure that the members are informed. Never before has our local communicated like we are now. We will only continue to improve as time goes by.
Our CAT at Local 1066 and the members on the shop floor have done an exceptional job of messaging and building solidarity within our local. There have been some complaints that are currently being addressed. Starting this month we will be a part of a test program with the International where we will utilize a TXT messaging system for 1066 members that wish to receive TXT. Not just bargaining updates, but a new way for us to communicate at any time. There will be a new number to TXT to and we will get that out as soon as we are set up. We are also working on an improved web and Facebook page, which will be adjusted to allow access to members only. That will allow us to speak freely without negative implications. The company and others are able to view both the union and an individual’s Facebook page and its outcome can be dangerous. While it is easy for people to vent complaints and frustrations during this difficult time, we must remain strong in our solidarity. Be assured that we continue this fight as one. The company would like nothing better than for us to fight amongst ourselves and divide our ranks.
Last week’s rally was the greatest show of solidarity that anyone has seen in many years and local 1066 lead the way. I’m very proud of our turnout and am very thankful to all those that helped make it happen. I’m committed in every way to making this a better union than the way I found it. If things change from our current status you will hear directly from me and the Bargaining Committee.
Forever in Solidarity-
Check this song out and listen to the words! Also watch the short video about the strike.
Rally and March Friday, August 21 at 3:30 p.m.
Meet at east parking lot at U. S.Steel Yard (Railcats Stadium)
March to Gateway Park 339 Broadway, Gary, IN.
Union Meetings are currently held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 4:00 p.m.
Any upcoming or changing activities will be posted on the EVENTS OR CALENDAR tab of the site! Check often as the activities for the year will be posted here!
What Could Happen at USS on September 1st?
August 10, 2015
Important Information for Members
As we enter the final month of our current contract with U.S. Steel, one question on the minds of many USW members is: What might happen on Sept. 1 if we have not agreed to a new contract?
There are a number of possible outcomes: 1) We could agree to extend the contract while we continue to bargain (the company must also agree to this), 2) We could vote to go on strike, 3) We could continue to work without a contract, and the company must honor all the terms of the contract except arbitration unless the parties have already negotiated to impasse or 4) The company could choose to lock us out. Each of these situations would mean different things for USW members.
Strikes and Lockouts
Your bargaining committee will not do anything to jeopardize members’ jobs, and we will do everything we can to avoid a work stoppage. Still, often the best way to avoid a strike is to be prepared for one. That’s why we want every USW member at every U.S. Steel site to be ready for the worst case scenario even as your bargaining committee continues working diligently each day toward reaching a fair agreement.
Remember, your right to strike is protected by law, so it would be illegal for U.S. Steel to fire you for simply participating in a strike. (Union members can, however, be disciplined for misconduct on picket lines.)
There are two types of strikes under the law. If one of the causes of a strike is an unfair labor practice, it is an “unfair labor practice strike”, and the company can only hire temporary replacements, who must be discharged at the end of the strike to permit the return of strikers - and the same is true for a lockout. Unless one of the causes of the strike is an unfair labor practice, it is an “economic strike”, and the company can hire permanent replacements, who do not have to be discharged at the end of the strike. However, a company and union can legally agree to their discharge as part of a strike settlement.
The Strike and Defense Fund
For more than 40 years, the Steelworkers International Strike and Defense Fund has provided support for USW members during strikes and lockouts. The money ients distributed on the basis of each member’s individual need. If necessary, each local would establish a committee to assess members’ needs and distribute money. The key to winning a strike or lockout is maintaining the solidarity of everyone, and all members working together to support each other.
Health Insurance Coverage
In the event of a strike, the Insurance Agreement requires the company to continue coverage for 30 days from the beginning of the strike. During this period, the company and union would discuss further continuation of coverage and repayment for the coverage advanced. Employees who participate in the strike and whose coverage is terminated 30 days after the beginning of the strike (and/or their dependents) would be eligible to elect COBRA continuation coverage.
In the event of a lockout, it is the union’s position is that U.S. Steel must continue insurance coverage until February 1, 2016. U.S. Steel may disagree with this, and the issue would have to be resolved by negotiations, arbitration or in court.
For more information on strikes, lockouts and working without a contract, talk to a CAT coordinator or visit usw.org/steel.
Your 2015 U.S. Steel Bargaining Committee
SIGN UP FOR REGULAR TEXT MESSAGE UPDATES ON U.S. STEEL BARGAINING!
TEXT = USS to 47486
DEFENDING AMERICAN WORKERS
I write to apprise you of actions that I have taken this past month to defend the American steel industry and steel workers.
• I opposed fast trade Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation.
• I voted for legislation supported by the steel industry and labor unions that will improve U.S. trade remedy laws.
• I successfully offered a Buy America amendment to an Appropriations bill that will require the use of American iron and steel.
The American steel industry and good-paying manufacturing jobs are under attack. I regret that there were not enough votes in the House to defeat TPA and that the President signed this measure into law . As the 114 th Congress proceeds, I will continue to fight every day to defend the American steel industry, strengthen Buy America requirements, and prevent unfairly traded steel products from being dumped on our shores.
For more information on my actions, please read the following documents or visit my website at visclosky.house.gov.
Shares of a number of U.S. steelmakers moved north last Friday after the U.S. International Trade Commission (“USITC”) confirmed the imposition of anti-dumping orders against six countries accused for illegally dumping cheap steel products into the U.S. market. The ruling marks a much-needed triumph for U.S. producers struggling to defend their turf from a flood of cheap steel from foreign manufacturers, especially from South Korea.
USW Welcomes Commerce Department Decision on South Korean Oil Country Tubular Goods
(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Commerce made its decision to impose dumping margins against South Korean oil country tubular goods (OCTG) dumped into the United States:
Save Our Steel Jobs
Jobs across the country are on the line as America's steel producers face an enormous threat from illegal foreign competition.
Tell your elected officials you're counting on them to stick up for American workers when the Department of Commerce makes its critical ruling in the Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) trade case.
ACT NOW to save our steel jobs!
Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Deal Dead for Now
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke publicly with the White House Wednesday on trade policy, instantly imperiling two major international trade deals and punching a hole in one piece of the economic agenda the president outlined in his State of the Union address a day earlier.
Mr. Reid told reporters he opposed legislation aimed at smoothing the passage of free-trade agreements, a vital component to negotiating any deal, and pointedly said supporters should back down.
"I'm against fast track," Mr. Reid (D., Nev.) said, using the shorthand term for legislation that prevents overseas trade agreements from being amended during the congressional approval process. "I think everyone would be well-advised just not to push this right now."
Antidumping tariffs will keep China, India and other countries from flooding the U.S. market with hot-rolled steel for at least another five years.
The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Tuesday that revoking existing duties on hot-rolled steel products from six foreign countries would cause economic damage to U.S. steelmakers and harm steelworkers, at least for the foreseeable future. The federal agency will continue to impose antidumping and countervailing tariffs on steel from China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine.
"The decision made today by the ITC is a positive step in the right direction," said U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind. "My unwavering commitment to protecting and advancing steel and manufacturing jobs throughout Northwest Indiana will continue."
The (ITC) ruled Tuesday that revoking existing duties on hot-rolled steel products from six foreign countries would cause economic damage to U.S. steelmakers and harm steelworkers, at least for the foreseeable future. -
United States Steel Corporation announced today it will indefinitely idle two tubular manufacturing facilities in McKeesport, Pa., and Bellville, Texas, in early August, impacting approximately 260 employees as a result of business conditions which are influenced by unfairly traded tubular products imported into the United States. You have to do something to stop the dumping.
Text STEEL to 91990
U.S. Steel's Portage, Indiana Plant Cranking out Steel for Automakers
By Joeseph Pete
The former National Steel finishing facility, which the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker bought out of bankruptcy a decade ago, processes metal for cars, cans, refrigerators, highway signs, utility boxes, doors and roof shingles. The plant makes the steel -- forged 10 miles away at Gary Works -- more valuable with treatments, such as zinc coating to keep it from rusting for years.