Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. in Ohio, the largest and oldest independent iron ore mining company in the U.S., and the United Steelworkers Sunday announced a tentative agreement for a new four-year labor contract effective Oct. 1.
It will cover about 1,800 USW-represented workers at Cliffs’ Tilden and Empire mines Michigan and its United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite mines in Minnesota. Both Michigan mines are located in the Upper Peninsula in Marquette County, south of Ishpeming.
Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. was founded in 1847 and is a major supplier of iron ore pellets to the North American steel industry, and by extension, the automotive, appliance, and construction sectors.
“We are pleased to reach a new labor contract that is fair and equitable to both parties and provides Cliffs a competitive cost structure for future success,” says Lourenco Goncalves, chairman, president, and CEO of Cliffs. “This agreement once again reinforces that we have more in common with the USW than we have differences, and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership.”
The agreement is pending ratification by USW local union memberships.
“Cliffs acknowledges the sacrifices of our members during recent tough times, and now that the industry is prospering, looks to give its dedicated workforce its fair share,” says Leo W. Gerard, president of USW International. “Cleveland Cliffs is a fundamental part of the steel industry, and we congratulate them for bargaining seriously to reach a fair agreement.”
By 2020, the company expects to be the sole producer of hot briquetted iron in the Great Lakes region with the development of its first production plant in Toledo.
The USW represents about 850,000 people employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply, and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.