Last week, United Steelworkers members employed at US Steel facilities voted in favor of enacting a work stoppage if current contract negotiations do not result in the conditions workers seek. There were rumblings of an ArcelorMittal steelworker strike authorization vote to take place this week. Yesterday, ArcelorMittal steelworkers strike rumors become reality as members voted unanimously in favor of strike authorization. According to ArcelorMittal Local 1010 president Steve Wagner, “Not one person said no.” This effectively paves the way not just for a US Steel steelworker strike, but an ArcelorMittal steelworker strike as well.
ArcelorMittal Shows No Plans For Compromise
According to USW union representatives, the ArcelorMittal steelworkers’ strike authorization is the result of the steel giant’s refusal to meet worker payment demands. A recent memo released to USW members read, “We do not want a fight, but we will not stand by while the company makes huge profits and at the same time demands the lowering of our standards of living.” Essentially, conditions the steel company is bargaining for effectively wipe out any progress workers have been pursuing to recoup 3 years of foregone pay raises. However, the memo reiterated that USW is holding strong to its philosophy in a few parting words, “By keeping our heads in the game and staying focused on the specific tasks and safety requirements associated with these tasks, we can continue to avoid serious injuries or fatalities.”
ArcelorMittal Steelworker Strike Negotiating For Lost Ground
According to USW Local 6787 President Pete Trinidad the voting halls had room for 1,000 participants and each meeting had standing room only. He added, “We had two outstanding unanimous votes. They shook the rafters.” More meetings are planned for locals in Burns Harbor and East Chicago.
Trinidad is a member of the union’s negotiating team. He revealed that under the current contract proposal, which was submitted to the USW on September 7th, members stand to lose as much as 72 cents per every hour worked. Trinidad encapsulated the atmosphere at the vote, stating, “I don’t know what the company’s thinking, but we’re fed up. We’re asking for a fair contract. The company can afford it.”
Wagner would go on to add, “It’s kind of unbelievable. This is how it was done when things were in the tank, not when business is thriving,” later adding, “No one calls for a strike unless it’s the only thing left to get the company moving in the direction it needs to be moving.”
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