Labor Update Wed: Practice Picket
Posted at: 09/05/2012 5:39 PM
| Updated at: 09/05/2012 6:36 PM
About 100 steelworkers and supporters stood outside of Minorca Mine in Virginia on Wednesday afternoon, for a practice picket.
Their signs said, "Just Practicing." Again, it was not a strike. But it was a show of solidarity, in the fight to get a fair labor deal.
"The morale is pretty high. We are upset that the company is dragging this out. But for the most part, we are upbeat," said union officer Lonnie Johnson.
Parent company ArcelorMittal is the largest steelmaker in the world. There are 15 facilities in the U.S. in eight states. During negotiations, the company has asked for some big concessions, citing economic setbacks.
"We shouldn't have to give up our health care, that's really important," said Tom Aubin, another 6115 officer. "The company is making money."
Johnson added, "We need retiree health care. The company wants to take that away, and cut benefits for retirees who paved the way for our generation."
One steelworker brought the next generation of miner with him, his two kids, Dylan and Lane. "We want a fair contract to keep our family going," Nick Anderson said.
Negotiations continued Wednesday in Pittsburgh. There's still no deal. The old contract expired on Saturday, September 1st.
The union has agreed not to strike while the negotiations are on-going.
The practice pickets and rallies were planned for Wednesday only, steelworkers said.
Range lawmaker Tommy Rukavina showed up to show his support, as did the leader of another mining union and a retiree group.
A request for comment from ArcelorMittal on the rallies was not immediately returned.
Cliffs Natural Resources and their bargaining teams remain on a break from the negotiating table.