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Steelworkers to begin strike talks as contract negotiations continue

October 2, 2018

The sun rises over the Monongahela Valley as smoke slowly rises from U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thompson Works in Braddock on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.

The United Steelworkers union will begin strike talks Tuesday, according to a message to union members. Two days ago, the union and U.S. Steel officials agreed to an ongoing extension of the expiring collective bargaining agreement.

Operations at all U.S. Steel facilities will continue during negotiations.

Union spokesman R.J. Hufnagel said in a statement that unions at US Steel locations across the country will hold meetings this week to “discuss the current negotiations and hold strike authorization votes.”

Meghan Cox, a spokeswoman for US Steel, said in a statement they do not anticipate a strike.

“Talks are ongoing, and we continue to work diligently to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion,” she said.

The two sides Saturday agreed to an ongoing extension of their contract, which was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. that night. About 2,500 union members work at the three U.S. Steel facilities in Western Pennsylvania -- Clairton Coke Works, Edgar Thompson Works in Braddock and Irvin Works in West Mifflin.

“Your local union leadership will return home in the coming days and will quickly schedule informational meetings and strike authorization votes with you,” read a statement released Saturday from the union to its members. “During that time we will continue to stay at work and will provide management with a 48-hour notice in advance of any strike in order to safely cease operations. We will also continue to try to bring the company to their senses, but that authorization is necessary to bring them into the real world.”

The statement from the union said the two sides are “still far from a fair agreement,” claiming that U.S. Steel wants cuts to health insurance, increased premiums and six-year contract with no bonuses or raises in the last three years.

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