In a move that could have far-ranging shockwaves throughout the Great Lakes and North Americas industrial production, the United Steelworkers (USW) union leadership has decided to pursue an authorization from its members to organize a strike against ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker.
In response, an emailed statement from an Arcelor Mittal spokesman released yesterday said, "We are aware that the USW is pursuing a strike authorization vote but negotiations are ongoing and we remain optimistic that a settlement will be reached by September 1." That date is the date that the current contract is set to expire.
The USW is urging members on Wednesday to authorize a strike that could involve the company's 14,000-member U.S. workforce, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal's website late on Tuesday. A strike could push already-high steel prices higher because it might further constrain supply.
"The company's current position does not do justice to our needs and demands and does not match the pattern set by the U.S. Steel agreement," according to a an update mailed to members on Tuesday by the union's negotiating panel, and cited in the Journal's report
For its part, ArcelorMittal said it would refuse to disclose details of its negotiations with the union, but it was pursuing an "amicable resolution towards the remaining handful of unresolved issues."