ArcelorMittal, Steelworkers reach deal

United Steelworkers of AmericaThe 2,000 Steelworkers and other workers currently laid off from Iron Range mines have been in the news for more than a year now. For much of that same year most remaining Steelworkers have been working under an expired labor contract.

Last fall, labor tensions were high. The major companies, all reeling from big losses and shrinking demand for iron ore and steel, sought big concessions from its workers.

One by one, however, labor deals have been reached. U.S. Steel reached its labor deal months ago. Today, the United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal, which operates the Minorca Mine near Virginia, announced a tentative deal as well.

From a statement by the Steelworkers union:

Recognizing the challenges facing our industry – mainly the result of historic levels of unfairly traded imports and a depressed market for our products – we committed very early in this process to address the company’s needs while protecting future generations and without burdening current or future retirees with unnecessary expenses.

Thanks to your support and solidarity on the shop floors while we resisted ArcelorMittal’s persistent concessionary demands at the table, we have negotiated a fair agreement that balances the needs of management to save money with our commitment to maintain our standards of living.

The ArcelorMittal/Minorca agreement now goes to the general membership of the Steelworkers Local for discussion and ratification. If approved, it would give the workers a contract through late 2018.

Minorca is the only mine on the Iron Range that hasn’t been closed or even partially idled during the current downturn in the global steel and iron ore industry. It produces a different kind of pellet for a niche market with its parent company, which is why its avoided the strife that has left U.S. Steel’s Keewatin Taconite and Cliffs’ United Taconite in Eveleth closed until further notice.

Cliffs Natural Resources is the only major Iron Range mining company yet to reach a deal with the Steelworkers.



  1. Does or doesn’t Cliffs have a contract? Your story says both.

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