PITTSBURGH - The United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal USA announced on Saturday a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract covering nearly 14,000 workers in eight states.
The union told members in an update posted on its website that they would be getting more details before a ratification vote, including dates and locations of informational meetings. A date for a ratification vote has not yet been set.
Officials said the current contract, which expired Sept. 1, would be extended pending ratification.
The contract covers employees at 15 ArcelorMittal USA's flat carbon, long carbon and iron ore mining locations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Louisiana and South Carolina.
ArcelorMittal confirmed the tentative contract Saturday afternoon but provided no details. Company president and CEO Michael Rippey said in a statement that officials were pleased "to have reached a fair and equitable outcome without disruption to our business operations."
The union told members that retiree health care was one of the most important issues going into negotiations, and officials believe they have negotiated a framework that will protect both current and future retirees. The union said it won wage increases and improved health care, rejected management's calls for a two-tier wage and pension system and maintained seniority rights and protections against the use of outside contractors.
"Our members' solidarity enabled us to fend off these serious attacks by the company," United Steelworkers District 7 Director Jim Robinson said in a statement. "This contract puts us in good strategic position to succeed in the future."
USW District 1 Director David McCall, who chairs the USW's negotiations with ArcelorMittal, said that although negotiations have concluded, the battle for justice and dignity on the shop floor and the fight for a more secure future for ArcelorMittal's workers and retirees will continue.
"After surviving the worst economic crisis in generations, our committee came to Pittsburgh seeking to improve the long-term viability and sustainability of the company and our jobs," McCall said in a prepared statement. "Instead of building on the strength of our partnership, ArcelorMittal management nearly destroyed it with proposal after proposal of sweeping, unnecessary contract changes and demands for major economic concessions."
The United Steelworkers announced last weekend a tentative agreement with U.S. Steel on a three-year contract covering more than 16,000 workers at domestic facilities.
Union negotiators are slated to resume talks next month with Cliffs Natural Resources on a pact covering about 2,400 workers at factories in Minnesota and Michigan.