Metro-East News

Granite City steel workers to remain on the job, for now

Local steelworkers will continue working for the time being under the terms of their expired contracts.

The contract for the 2,000 steel workers at U.S. Steel Corp.’s Granite City steel mill expired Tuesday. But United Steelworkers of America Sub District 2 Director Dave Dowling said the union has agreed to give management at least 48 hours notice if they decide to go on strike.

“The union sent a letter to the company offering to continue to work under the terms of the contract,” Dowling said. “We would continue to do so in an effort to reach a settlement. If the decision would be made by the union to strike, the union would provide at least 48 hours prior notice or possibly more.”

Dowling said the two sides are not close to an agreement. The union has been negotiating with management at U.S. Steel’s corporate in Pittsburgh for almost two months.

In a statement released Wednesday by U.S. Steel, company spokeswoman Sarah Cassella said, “U. S. Steel remains committed to operating our facilities and servicing our customers without disruption as labor contract negotiations continue. We appreciate the United Steelworkers’ commitment to extend the contract negotiations to give ‘the parties the fullest possible opportunity to resolve their differences and thereby avoid a work stoppage,’ as stated in their letter dated Aug. 31, 2015.”

The union held a rally Tuesday at the union’s headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh to publicly demand a fair contract. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, United Steelworkers Local 1899 President Dan Simmons, who represents steel workers at the Granite City plant, spoke to the crowd and called U.S. Steel’s current contract proposal “ridiculous.” He said the steel company does not want to pay overtime to steel workers who work more than eight hours in a day, won’t guarantee an eight-hour day and will only guarantee 32 hours of work a week.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 618-239-2526.

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