United Steelworkers push through sellout contract at ArcelorMittal
3 December 2018
On Thursday, the United Steelworkers announced ratification of a concessions contract with giant steelmaker ArcelorMittal by what it claimed to be an “overwhelming margin” after the same contract was pushed through two weeks ago at US Steel.
The deal covers some 15,000 workers. It includes a pitiful 14 per cent wage increase over four years and a meager $4,000 signing bonus used to bait workers, many of whom suffered increasing financial difficulties after being forced by the union and company to take a three-year wage freeze as a result of the ratification of the 2015 contracts.
The wage increase amounts to only a four percent rise in pay in the first year, 3.5 percent in each of the next two years, and a three percent raise in the fourth year. When the past three years of frozen wages are factored in, and the inflation rate approaching or expected to exceed three percent in the coming months and years, it is in reality a wage cut. That such a contract was approved is not a sign that the workers believed that they were gaining anything, but rather a complete lack of confidence in the USW.
The USW claims that the 2018 contract will “bolster retirement provisions, improve benefits and strengthen contract language.” Such amorphous phrases must be understood as corporate double-speak covering up another rotten betrayal.
Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers union, made the following statements on the union’s website after the concessions were pushed through: “After years of hard work and tremendous sacrifice to keep these facilities running and the company viable while the domestic steel industry languished through wave after wave of…