Metro-East News

U.S. Steel reaches tentative contract agreement with steelworkers

Steelworkers rally outside of U.S. Steel in Granite City.

Area steelworkers gathered outside of U.S. Steel in Granite City a day before negotiation deadlines. Steelworkers are fighting against increased health care costs and cuts on retirement among other issues. Union leaders are hopeful for a resolution.
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Area steelworkers gathered outside of U.S. Steel in Granite City a day before negotiation deadlines. Steelworkers are fighting against increased health care costs and cuts on retirement among other issues. Union leaders are hopeful for a resolution.

U.S. Steel reached a tentative agreement with roughly 14,000 steelworkers nationwide for a new four-year contract, including with workers at the Granite City Works steel mill, the company announced Monday.

David Burritt, CEO of the Pittsburgh-based company, said in a statement he believes the agreement is “fair and in the best long-term interests of our employees and their families,” as well as customers and stockholders.

Details on the agreement between the company and United Steel Workers will not be released until after the contract is ratified, according to a news release on U.S. Steel’s website.

Local union presidents who were in Pittsburgh for negotiations unanimously approved the proposed agreement, said Dave Dowling, director of the union Sub-District 2 in Granite City.

“I was not in Pittsburgh, but the reports I’ve received from the local union presidents are all very positive,” Dowling said.

U.S. Steel gave a tour of Granite City Steel shortly as it was in the process of firing up the second of two blast furnaces after the plant had been idled for two years. Re-starting the two blast furnaces means 800 more jobs at the steel mill.

Workers sought a raise and better benefits for retirees, Dowling previously told the Belleville News-Democrat.

Reuters reported Tuesday the contract proposes a 14 percent wage increase over a four-year period, citing anonymous sources familiar with the contract.

To ratify the agreement, the union will mail ballots to members along with a contract explanation. The members then have time to consider the contract before sending back their vote. The union will also hold meetings where members can ask questions. A simple majority will determine if the contract is approved or not, Dowling said.

The ratification process can take several weeks, according to Dowling.

Granite City Works steelworkers voted to approve a strike authorization in September, which gave the union approval from its members to call for a strike if negotiations for a national contract agreement continued to stall with U.S. Steel.

Reporter Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110, @kelseylandis
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