Contractual changes could slash wages of local steel workers


MORGANTOWN, W.V. (AP) -- Workers at the Georgetown steel mill may soon see some contractual changes.

Negotiations over a new contract between the United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal have begun. The agreement expires September 1 and covers 14,000 employees in 15 facilities throughout the country, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Louisiana and right here in South Carolina.

ArcelorMittal wants to slash wages and benefits by more than $28 an hour and have the unilateral right to cut wages during business slowdowns.

The change also proposes redesigning incentives, freezing pensions and eliminating retiree health care and pension benefits after September 1.

ArcelorMittal says it is committed to a fair agreement that creates a sustainable future, but it must close the labor cost gap with nonunion mills.