USW Challenges Cliffs on Threats to Increase Retiree Health Costs

USW Challenges Cliffs on Threats to Increase Retiree Health Costs

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A standing-room-only crowd packed the Local 4950 union hall in Negaunee, Mich., on December 9 to discuss recent warnings from Cliffs Natural Resources of potentially large increases to retiree health care costs in 2016.

The company mailed letters to Cliffs retirees in late November threatening significant increases that could put an unnecessary financial burden on many of our retirees and their families.

As you know, your USW bargaining committee is still in the process of negotiating a new contract with Cliffs. We believe the rates that the company quoted in its letter would be incorrect regardless of the status of our negotiations.

As soon as we learned of the company’s letter, we scheduled a meeting with management in an effort to resolve this matter.  Unfortunately, the company continued to insist on moving forward with its planned increases and seemed determined to force the USW to go to arbitration over these rates.

While we understand that this is a difficult time for our industry, we also are determined to do everything we can to make sure Cliffs does not take advantage of that climate to harm our retirees who have worked hard their whole lives. We have launched a petition aimed at convincing Cliffs to compromise on this issue. If you haven’t signed it yet, please contact your CAT representative to do so!

Rest assured that we will continue to do everything we can to prevent Cliffs from imposing unnecessary and burdensome premium increases on our retirees and families, and we will continue to keep everyone informed about this situation as it develops.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222