NEW YORK ArcelorMittal
USA LLC is involved in a dispute about workplace safety with "a
small number of union workers" at its Burns Harbor facility in
Indiana, a company spokeswoman told AMM in an
The dispute arose after
ArcelorMittal, the Chicago-based subsidiary of Luxembourg-based
ArcelorMittal SA, upgraded control systems and process
automation at the plants basic oxygen furnace and
continuous caster in a push to improve safety, the spokeswoman
said April 24.
The upgrades resulted in "many
manual functions previously done by the work force now being
controlled and completed by the process computer and have
replaced the need for human intervention during non-normal
casting conditions," the company spokeswoman said, adding that
this "will not result in work force reductions" but "will
reduce the amount of overtime required to meet demand."
But while the company contends
the upgrades will improve both operational efficiency and
workplace safety, "a small number of union workers have
disputed these improvements," the spokeswoman said. As a
result, a dispute resolution process set out in the
plants basic labor agreement is under way.
The spokeswoman did not respond
to AMMs request for more information about a
possible impact on production at the plant, but local media
reported that 10 workers at the plants continuous caster
walked off the job April 21 due to safety concerns surrounding
the new controls and automation, resulting in a production
slowdown throughout the steelworks.
"ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor is
working closely with the United Steelworkers (union) to resolve
the issue," the spokeswoman added. Officials for USW Local
6787, which represents workers at the plant, could not be
reached for comment.