NEW YORK Negotiations
between the United Steelworkers union and ArcelorMittal USA
Inc. will resume Tuesday following talks last week in
Pittsburgh, and the union is not optimistic a quick resolution
is in sight.
"As we press forward, we expect
long, frustrating days aheadespecially when major
economic discussions begin," the union said in a statement
Monday. "Our progress has been slow and the company continues
to insist that it must reduce its labor costs; we remain
committed to success and sustainability by insisting on real
investments in equipment and technology."
Negotiations began in May to
replace a contract set to expire Sept. 1. ArcelorMittal USA
opened negotiations in May with proposed reductions to wages
and benefits that the union described as "unacceptable" at the
time (AMM, June 12).
The company continues to stand
by its view that changes are required to keep the business
"In response to a request by the
USW, the parties reviewed recent business performance by
ArcelorMittal USA back to 2006 ... to better understand what it
takes to accomplish their mutual objectivea business
which is sustainable throughout the business cycle, and not
just when the wind is at our back," a spokeswoman for the
Chicago-based company said in an e-mailed statement to
AMM. "The dialogue considered the journeys traveled by
other industrial companies and their unions to lead change and
become more competitive."
"Union-represented steel is not
the first to face these challenges and can learn from others,
including the Detroit 3 (Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and
Chrysler Group LLC) and (the United Auto Workers union) and a
number of other companies," the company spokeswoman added.
She noted that chief operating
officers from the steelmakers flat and long products
divisions also joined the labor discussions last week.
The unions negotiations will also resume this week
with Pittsburgh-based steelmaker U.S. Steel Corp., the union
said. U.S. Steel did not respond to requests for comment.