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USWA OFFERS BOLD NEW PROPOSALS TO INSURE STEEL INDUSTRY HEALTH WHILE IMPROVING WAGES, BENEFITS, SECURITY AND WORKER EMPOWERMENT

 PITTSBURGH, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- In a bold step aimed at improving the long-term prospects of the American steel industry, the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) today announced a two-pronged Policy Statement setting collective bargaining goals for 1993 and beyond.
 The first prong, modeled on the Statement of Policy issued last month by the union's Wage Policy Committee, emphasizes improvements in wages, benefits, employment security and worker empowerment. The second prong, designed for those companies who share the union's vision of what needs to be done to best insure the long-term health of the steel industry, charts a completely new direction in collective bargaining and in building a shared public policy agenda to deal with the problems confronting the industry.
 Today's Policy Statement was adopted by the union's 300-member Basic Steel Industry Conference, composed of Local Union presidents and other USWA officers who represent 140,000 members employed by U.S. steel companies and iron ore mines.
 In a summary of the proceedings, the USWA added that as part of the second prong:
 "The union offers to enter into early negotiations and to consider longer-term contracts out of concern for market and employment stability and to avoid the stockpiling-layoff syndrome that has historically burdened collective bargaining in the industry. But these measures are only part of the overall new approach to bargaining.
 "The union will not start down the new path except on condition that there will be no concessions in wages and benefits and that the union will be provided full and continuing access to the company's financial books and records. The union's need for information concerning company plans, strategies and prospects is a theme which runs throughout the substantive elements of the new approach."
 The new directions approach contemplates agreement on the following collective bargaining principles:
 -- Long-term agreements must contain periodic reopeners with binding arbitration (ENA type) as an end point, along with other upside wage protection in the event the company prospers.
 -- Guarantees against layoff similar to the National Steel model. Underscoring the value of this arrangement, the USWA pointed out that National Steel earned a third-quarter profit in 1992 while other major producers were reporting substantial losses. National Steel itself said recently that its union workers had helped it save $100 million.
 -- Workforce restructuring to improve quality and reduce costs, including reorganization of the way work is done and reductions in management and other overhead costs. Bargaining unit reductions will be accomplished through attrition.
 -- Union and worker involvement at all levels of the company.
 -- Health care cost reductions through managed care (as an additional alternative to the existing Program of Insurance Benefits) but without cost shifting to employees.
 -- Funding of legacy costs partly by the employers and partly through government fees on steel shipped in the United States regardless of source.
 -- Corporate guarantees and full successorship rights.
 -- Revitalization of craft apprenticeships and position-rated job training programs.
 -- Company neutrality in organizing campaigns and recognition based on an authorization card majority.
 -- Continuing commitment to invest in plant modernization.
 -- Resolution of existing significant contracting out issues.
 The USWA pointed out that even with full union-management cooperation to achieve these objectives, government help is needed to insure the industry's viability.
 "Accordingly," the union said, "a key part of the new directions approach is to enlist the steel companies in a joint public policy agenda which includes government action to spur industrial investment and growth and rebuilding of the nation's infrastructure."
 Other government actions required include adoption of a national health care program, reestablishment of the Steel Tripartite Commission, vigorous enforcement and strengthening of U.S. trade laws, partial funding of legacy costs by government fees on steel shipments, and "enactment of a full labor law reform package that would bar the permanent replacement of strikers and remove the legal barriers to organizing the unorganized."
 The USWA has contracts expiring July 31 with, among others, Bethlehem Steel (NYSE: BS), National Steel, Armco (NYSE: AS), and Inland Steel (NYSE; IAD). Other major contracts expire later. They include USX (NYSE: X)(Jan. 1, 1994) and Wheeling-Pittsburgh (NYSE: WHX) (March 1, 1994.)
 The USWA has approximately 6,000 labor agreements in force in various industries. Major negotiations in 1993, in addition to basic steel, include the specialty steel, container and aluminum industries.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/5/93
 /CONTACT: USWA Communications Department, 412-562-2442, or Carl Frankel, USWA associate general counsel, 412-562-2541/
 (BS AS IAD X WHX)


CO: United Steelworkers of America ST: Pennsylvania IN: MNG SU:

DM -- PG009 -- 1944 01/05/93 17:52 EST
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Date:Jan 5, 1993
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