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National Steel-United Steelworkers.

National Steel-United Steelworkers In the second 1989 settlement in the steel industry, National Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers agreed on terms similar to those at Bethlehem Steel Corp., with some exceptions. (See Monthly Labor Review, July 1989, p. 43, for the Bethlehem terms.) The differences resulted because the 1986 accord at National called for smaller cuts in wages and benefits than the Bethlehem accord--64 cents an hour versus $1.97, according to a Steelworkers' official--and because the companies continue to insist that terms must be tailored to their individual conditions, in contrast to the pre-1986 practice of settling on essentially identical contracts.

The differences were an immediate 31-cent-an-hour wage restoration increase for production workers at National (42 cents for office and technical employees), compared with the 8.09-Percent immediate increase at Bethlehem (future increases were the same at both companies--$1 an hour in January 1991 and 50 cents an hour in January 1992), and companywide distribution of the entire annual profit-sharing allocation (10 percent of pretax profits) at National. At Bethlehem, 60 percent of the allocation will be distributed companywide and the balance will be allocated to company units in proportion to their profits, for payment to their employees.

The National settlement, for 7,300 employees at three plants in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana was first rejected by union members, but was later accepted after National agreed to changes in the profit-sharing and inflation recognition payments. The accord left only Inland Steel Co. and Armco, Inc., to settle with the Steelworkers in the 1989 round of bargaining at the major producers. The 1987 agreement with USX Corp., the largest company in the industry, expires in January 1991.

Elsewhere in the steel industry, relations were less conciliatory between CitiSteel USA Inc. of Claymont, DE, and the Steelworkers. According to the union, the company was not keeping a commitment to staff the reopened plant with employees of the former operator, Phoenix Steel Corp., which had shut down in 1987 after declaring bankruptcy. Accordingly, the union, which had represented Phoenix employees since 1943, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

China International Trust ad Investment Corp., the new owner, countered that any hiring commitments were not valid because they had been made by a prospective partner who did not actually participate in the purchase. CitiSteel's president said that up to a third of the 190 employees hired so far were former Phoenix Steel employees. Employment is expected to total 300 when full production is reached in 1990.

"Developments in Industrial Relations" is prepared by George Ruben of the Division of Developments in Labor-Management Relations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is largely based on information from secondary sources.
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations; agree on contract
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Aug 1, 1989
Previous Article:AT&T settlement.
Next Article:Civil rights cases.

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