United Steelworkers Protest Outside Keetac Over Contract Talks
KEEWATIN, Minn. — Keetac workers with the United Steelworkers union took Wednesday’s celebration of plans for a $150 million investment at Keetac as an opportunity to protest what they call a “bitter contract war” with U.S. Steel.
Dozens of miners were holding a picket near Keetac hoping to make a statement to U.S. Steel’s CEO as he drove in to the mine.
A steel worker representative told Fox 21 that U.S. Steel has offered an increase of about 15% over 4 years. Keetac workers say steelworkers at nearby Cleveland Cliffs received 22% over 4 years in a contract ratified last week.
“Where we’re at with U.S. Steel… we’re miles apart. We’re not close on wages, pensions. Healthcare, vacations. Holidays, nothing. We’re not close on anything. And we’re working on extension… and these men and women from the steelworkers have had enough. And we’d like to get a fair deal sooner rather than later,” said John Arbogast District 11 Representative.
U.S. Steel says its proposal provides fair and strong wage growth with a variety of benefits including bonuses and capped healthcare costs.
Members of United Steelworkers have been working without a contract since September 1. U.S. Steel also owns Minntac in Mountain Iron.