Following some six months of tense negotiations, U.S. Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers union have announced a tentative agreement on a three-year contract representing some 18,000 workers across the country. Neither side released further details about the contract, pending ratification from 26 local unions.
The contract represents 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, the Associated Press reported.
U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi said the agreement was “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.
— Chip Mitchell (@ChipMitchell1) December 20, 2015
Amid a crisis for U.S. steelmakers, negotiations between the company and the union started in June. Illegal low-priced imports from China and elsewhere, along with an oil slump, had resulted in overcapacity worldwide, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prices fell, which led U.S. Steel and others to lay off workers around the country.
USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who led the bargaining committee, said members "were determined throughout this process not to be made scapegoats for the problems of unfair trade and global overcapacity," the Tribune reported.
Union President Leo Gerard said in a statement it had been “a difficult year and a difficult round of bargaining,” the AP reported. He added he was “proud of the way the brothers and sisters of the USW stood up and demanded fair treatment.”
Union officials said last fall the company wanted more money from members for healthcare and concessions on overtime pay, among other concerns. The tentative agreement doesn't cover some 13,000 workers at steelmaker Arcelor Mittal, whose contract expired in June.