Steelworkers Rally for Fair Raises

After Not Getting a Raise in Over Three Years, United Steelworkers Union Had Enough

VIRGINIA, Minn.- Chants rang out filled with passion, and even anger.

Members of the United Steel Workers union Local 1938 gathered in Virginia to protest what they feel is an insulting and unfair contract offer.

“The CEOs shouldn’t live a life of luxury while the middle class worker struggles to eat and pay his bills,” said Steelworker Richard Poskarbiewicz.

The proposed contract by US Steel would increase wages in 2018 a little more than three percent. With a 2% increase in 2019 and one percent in 2020. Anything after that is uncertain.

But union workers believe that’s not enough after years or stagnant salaries and concessions they believe have gone too far.

“It hurts because the people who work here, they care about their jobs, they care about the mines that they work in,” said Chad Daniels, USW Financial Secretary.

“Blood, sweat and tears went into these mines, peoples’ lives have been lost in these mines….we’ve sacrificed, we’ve put into this place. I think it’s time for us to get something back.”

The community came out in thousands to join the Steelworkers. Nurses, local politicians, community leaders all came out to support the message: enough is enough.

“I look around and it’s a sea of blue out here. I love it,” said Daniels.

As for US Steel they released the following statement. It reads in part:

“We will work diligently to keep bargaining in good faith to reach an agreement.  As with previous contract negotiations, our facilities will continue to operate in a safe and orderly manner.  We hope to come to a mutually agreeable conclusion.”

A conclusion that has a fast approaching deadline of Saturday night – or the workers may strike. Which isn’t the preferred option for them, either.

“To U.S. Steel, we just want a fair contract,” said Christopher Madrinich, rallying with his wife and three kids. “We just want to be able to support our families, support the community, and stay, and keep our way of life up here.”

 

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