Steelworkers vote today on strike authorization

Fourteen thousand members of the United Steelworkers union are being asked to vote today to permit a strike against domestic plants operated by ArcelorMittal, a Luxembourg-based steel giant.

In Indiana, ArcelorMittal has plants in Burns Harbor, East Chicago and New Carlisle. About half of the company’s 14,000 U.S. union employees are in the Indiana plants, as well as a plant in Riverdale, Ill.

The union is seeking authorization to strike “if it becomes necessary,” according to a handbill obtained by The Times of Munster.

The existing contract expires Monday, and the parties have been negotiating for four months, with too little progress, the union said.

Issues in dispute include health care costs, incentive programs, profit sharing and capital investment in the facilities.

If the Steelworkers were to strike, it would be the first in the steelmaking region since 1986, when LTV Corp. ended retiree health benefits after it entered bankruptcy protection.

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