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20 September, 2012IndustriALL Global Union U.S. affiliate United Steelworkers (USW) reached a tentative new three-year agreement with ArcelorMittal for the company's operations in USA. One month earlier, the United Workers Union of Liberia (UWUL) managed to get their first deal with the same company.
The USW and ArcelorMittal agreement is valid for three years and will cover 14,000 workers at 15 ArcelorMittal U.S. Sites. The USW reports the negotiations were tough, the union had to defend against the company’s attempts to impose a two-tier wage system. USW also had to protect seniority rights and maintain limits on work performed by outside contractors. The agreement provides for a wage increase and improved health care conditions. The specific details of the agreement are not disclosed until the members’ approval voting, which will last several weeks.
“After ten long weeks of difficult negotiations that continued past the expiration of our previous contract, the hard work of our committee has resulted in a tentative agreement with ArcelorMittal,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President, commenting on the agreement. “Our members’ unwavering solidarity throughout the bargaining process in the face of management’s high-risk scare tactics and demands for major cutbacks has been rewarded,” Gerard added.
At the same time the Liberia where United Workers Union of Liberia (UWUL) has concluded its first collective bargaining agreement with ArcelorMittal.
The agreement signed in Monrovia came after years of organizing in the mining sector since Liberia’s civil war forced the shutdown of the iron ore mines in the mid-1990s. Among other conditions the agreement includes a wage increase up to 20 per cent and enhanced benefits for the employees. The company and the union will also establish a joint health and safety committee.
The IndustriALL Global Union puts a special focus on provision of healthy and safe working conditions at ArcelorMittal sites. Back in 2007, the International Metalworkers’ Federation one of the co-founders of IndustriALL, the European Metalworkers' Federation (now IndustriAll European Trade Union) and the United Steelworkers signed an agreement with ArcelorMittal on the creation of a Joint Global Health and Safety Committee (JGHSC). One part of the agreement foresees the creation of joint bodies at ArcelorMittal sites, which are aimed at improving occupational health and safety.