United Steelworkers (USW) and U.S Steel on Monday afternoon reached tentative agreement on a new labor agreement.
“From where we started to where we ended up is pretty magnificent,” said John Arbogast, president of USW Local 1938 at Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron. “We did great with health care, wages and pensions.”
Details of the agreement are not being released. However, union leaders who represent USW members at U.S. Steel facilities across the nation unanimously approved the tentative agreement, said Arbogast.
The agreement now moves to a ratification vote of more 16,000 USW members who work at U.S. Steel facilities across the country. Following informational meetings this week, ballots will be sent to USW members within a week or
two for a vote.
“We're happy we were able to bargain an agreement,” said Cliff Tobey, president of USW Local 2660 at Keetac in Keewatin. “It was a long process, but we got where we needed to be. It really was the union member's solidarity that got it done. We ended up in a lot different place than where we started.”
The agreement is a major piece of good news on the Iron Range, where taconite plants produce iron ore pellets that make American steel. Negotiations between the USW and U.S. Steel began in early July. Although the labor agreement expired Sept. 1, USW members continued to work under a contract
About 1,200 USW members work at Minntac Mine, North America's largest taconite plant. About 350 work at Keetac.
Informational meetings for Local 1938 members will be held at 7:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. at Miners Memorial Building in Virginia.
Informational meetings for Local 2660 members are at 7:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday at Keewatin City Hall.
USW members at Cleveland-Cliffs facilities last week ratified a new four-year labor contract. Negotiations continue between the USW and ArcelorMittal.
ArcelorMittal owns and operates ArcelorMittal Minorca, a 2.8 million-ton-per-year taconite plant in Virginia.
“It's good news, that's for damn sure,” Arbogast said of the tentative agreement. “Hopefully, this helps our members up the road (at ArcelorMittal Minorca). It would help the Iron Range.”