USW indicates progress in contract talks

WEIRTON — The United Steelworkers union indicated Thursday there has been progress in talks with ArcelorMittal USA for a new contract.

The current contract expired Sept. 1. Talks began in July and the Steelworkers took a strike authorization vote in September at all 13 ArcelorMittal USA plants with USW locals, including Local 2911 at Weirton.

“Although there remains significant ground to cover on differences that remain between our committee and ArcelorMittal management, we are nonetheless gratified to report that the unity and solidarity demonstrated by USW members over the past months at each and every location represented in these negotiations finally appears to have made a positive impression on the company,” the USW said in its Thursday negotiations update, entitled, ArcelorMittal Proposals Show Progress on Some Issues.

Bargaining resumed this week in Pittsburgh.

The union said there is still more movement it wants from the companies on vital issues it considers for a fair contract.

The Steelworkers have contended throughout the talks that the union had been concessionary and innovative during talks in 2015 because the domestic steel industry was in a downturn. It said with the economy booming, there is no need for any concessions in the next contract.

The union said there is more work to be done before a tentative agreement can be presented to members and emphasized members shouldn’t think they’ve succeeded in their goals, or that the union will continue bargaining indefinitely.

Both sides have made public details of economic issues on the table in previous offers, but not with the current discussions.