United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal reach tentative agreement

WEIRTON — The United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal have reached a tentative four-year labor agreement, according to information released by the labor union and the company.

According to a statement by ArcelorMittal, the agreement, if ratified, would cover about 12,000 USW-represented employees at 11 of ArcelorMittal USA’s operations in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota.

“We are pleased to have a new, tentative agreement with our partners at the USW and believe we have reached a fair and positive outcome for all parties involved without disruption to our business operations,” John Brett, president and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA, said in a news release. “We are unable to comment on specific details out of respect for the ratification process. We extend our appreciation to our employees, customers and the community for their patience and commitment during the negotiation process.”

The USW issued a statement indicating its negotiating team is pleased to have reached a tentative contract after months of bargaining.

“The proposed four-year agreement mirrors the industry standard on wages, lump-sum payments and pensions and maintains or improves our existing health insurance benefits for active and retired Steelworkers and their dependents,” the USW states.

If approved, the agreement would replace the existing contract that expired Sept. 1. ArcelorMittal and the USW have an agreement in place to continue operations under the terms of that expired agreement until the ratification process is concluded — an effort that is expected to take 30 days, according to ArcelorMittal.

While neither side provided exact details of the tentative agreement, information provided by ArcelorMittal on Oct. 22 noted the following terms were being proposed: a four-year contract with annual base wage increases of 4 percent, 3.5 percent, 3.5 percent and 3 percent; a lump sum payment of $4,000 following ratification; no change in profit sharing; no health care premiums for active employees and no premium increases for retirees; no increase to deductibles, co-pay or out-of-pocket maximum for active employees or retirees; more than $1,800 per year in additional contributions to the Steelworkers Pension Trust; and a commitment to the long-term competitiveness of operations through the investment of a minimum of $2.3 billion over the life of the contract.

Union officials previously stated profit sharing had continued to be a point of negotiation.

USW officials soon will have information available for employees, including a detailed contract summary, ballots and voting instructions. The information will be mailed to the membership, including a deadline for ballots to be submitted.

Local union explanation meetings to review the tentative agreement also are being scheduled.