Steel Producers, Farmers Await Word on Tariffs

Steelworkers Ratify New Pact at NLMK; Ends Six-Month Strike

FARRELL, Pa. – Members of United Steelworkers Local 1016-03 voted Monday evening to approve a new collective bargaining agreement that ends a six-month long strike at NLMK Pennsylvania.

The membership voted 276-103 in favor of the new four-year contract, said Jim Wells, president of USW Local 1016-03.

“We’ve been negotiating for a year,” Wells said. On August 22, 410 workers voted to go out on strike, mostly because of disagreements over health care benefits, he said. “That was the major issue.”

Wells said the vote broke about the way he expected.

The new agreement allows workers a choice between a PPO plan at a reasonable rate and another plan with higher deductibles, Wells said. However, the pact also extends the plan to new hires, which was an important issue for the membership.

“This strike hasn’t been just about us,” Wells said. “It was also for the people in the future.”

The contract also contains raises for members at a rate of 2.5% the first year and 2% annual hikes for the remaining three years of the contract, he said. The contract takes effect immediately, he said.

Bargainers and members of NLMK’s management reached a tentative agreement two weeks ago, but union leaders couldn’t provide details because they had not yet presented the contract to the membership.

Wells said that there are some logistics issues to work out before members could return to the plant, but said he expects everyone should be back to work within three weeks.

NLMK Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of Russian steel giant NLMK, processes imported steel billets into coil, then ships the steel to customers in the United States.

In 2018, NLMK’s business was hit hard as a result of punitive tariffs brought on by the Trump Administration that raised the costs of imported steel billets. Although its appeal for an exemption was denied, an international trade court ruled that some of those tariffs were unjustified and ordered the federal government to compensate NLMK for its losses.

In November 2020, the government awarded NLMK’s Pennsylvania and Indiana operations a $97 million refund in compliance with the order.

Feb. 18, 2021 | NLMK, Steelworkers Reach Tentative Agreement
Jan. 9, 2021 | 6 Months on Picket Line, NLMK Steelworkers Still at Odds over Health Care
Nov. 30, 2020 | NLMK, Fresh from Tariff Win, Makes New Contract Offer
Sept. 15, 2020 | Ryan Offers Support to Picketers at NLMK
Sept. 10, 2020 | Steelworkers Offer to Meet with NLMK, Still at Odds on Health Care
Aug. 27, 2020 | NLMK Refutes Union, Accuses USW of ‘Campaign of Lies’
Aug. 25, 2020 | Union Members Picket Round-the-Clock Outside NLMK

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