United States Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers reached a tentative three-year deal late Saturday covering about 18,000 employees of the Pittsburgh-based manufacturer, including at Mon Valley Works in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Both the company and the Union said little about the specifics of the agreement, which has to be ratified by the members of 26 local unions representing the workers at a dozen plants across the U.S. Even though the previous deal expired September 1, both sides kept talking and U.S. Steel (NYSE: X) agreed to the Unions proposal to keep working while negotiations continued.
There’s no timeline for the ratification process, but the USW said it would likely take several weeks.
“We are please we have reached a tentative agreement in the best interest of our company, our stakeholders, and our employees,” said U.S. Steel SEO Mario Longhi in a statement. “We believe this three-year competitive 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.”
This year has been a difficult one for the steel industry and U.S. Steel has been hit hard, in particular by a drop in oil-and gas-related production. It has laid off thousands of workers and idled plants, and its stock price stands at $8.01 a share, down from the $26.59 a share on Jan. 2.
In a statement Saturday night, the USW said the company had initially wanted what it said were "demands for major cuts in pay and benefits, along with changes to work rules and other concessions that would have cost workers and their families thousands of dollars per year." It isn't clear what's in the tentative deal.
"As we move on from a difficult round of bargaining, we look forward to building on this collaborative relationship with the company to address the problems that have led to this crisis," United Steelworkers District 7 Director Mike Millsap said in a statement.
Included in the agreement are workers at all of U.S. Steel's iron ore mining and flat-rolled facilities. The latter includes the Mon Valley Works in the Pittsburgh region plus tubular operations in Fairfield, Ala.; Lone Star, Texas; and Lorain, Ohio.
Paul J. Gough
Pittsburgh Business Times
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