US Steel, union reach tentative contract for 18,000 workers

PITTSBURGH (AP) – U.S. Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers union have announced tentative agreement on a new contract covering about 18,000 workers at more than a dozen facilities across the country.

Neither side released details about the pact pending ratification by members of more than two dozen locals unions at the facilities.

The contract covers thousands of workers at the company’s domestic flat-rolled and iron ore mining facilities as well as workers at tubular operations in Fairfield, Alabama; Lorain, Ohio; and Lone Star, Texas.

U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi called the pact “in the best interest of our company, our stakeholders and our employees.”

“We believe this competitive three-year contract further supports the mutual success we have had with the USW in pursuing our Carnegie Way efforts and confronting unfair trade that is significantly impacting our industry,” he said in a statement.

Union president Leo Gerard said in a statement that it had been “a difficult year and a difficult round of bargaining.” He said, however, that he was “proud of the way the brothers and sisters of the USW stood up and demanded fair treatment.”

Negotiations began in June with both sides decrying low-priced imports from China and elsewhere and amid price declines and slowing demand for steel because of a decline in oil and gas drilling. The company’s cost-cutting measures included closing and idling mills across the country and laying off thousands of workers.

Last fall, union officials said the company was seeking more money from members for health care and concessions on overtime, contracting out work to nonunion workers and other issues.

The old contract expired at the beginning of September, but the two sides agreed to continue operating under its provisions.

The tentative agreement, announced late Saturday, doesn’t cover about 13,000 workers at steelmaker Arcelor Mittal whose contract also expired in June. Those negotiations continue.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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