Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF), United Steelworkers Ratify Contract

September 29, 2016 12:17 PM EDT

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The United Steelworkers (USW) said that union members have ratified a contract with Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) covering about 2,000 workers who belong to four local unions at the company's U.S. iron ore mines. The agreement is retroactive to Oct. 1, 2015 and will expire on Oct. 1, 2018.

USW International President Leo W. Gerard commended our members at Cliffs and throughout the Iron Range for their unity and dedication during the lengthy bargaining and ratification process.

"Through no fault of their own, too many of our brothers and sisters have dealt with the uncertainty of an industry downturn brought about by decades of misguided trade policies," Gerard said. "We are looking forward to a more secure future with ratification complete and a fair collective bargaining agreement in place."

USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez, who chairs the union's negotiations with Cliffs, said that the newly ratified agreement preserves wages, benefits and other longstanding rights and protections without lowering the standards of living of current workers or retirees.

"The contract reflects the hard work and solidarity of our negotiating committee, activists and members and retirees from each of the local unions," Ramirez said. "Settling our differences with management at the table will enable all of us to focus on addressing the industry's real problems, such as global overcapacity and the unfair and often illegal foreign trade practices that depress prices, close facilities and cost jobs."

USW District 11 Assistant Director John Rebrovich said that the union is pleased that the proud tradition of mining iron ore at these facilities will continue.

"For generations, our families have worked in these mines and established a way of life," Rebrovich said. "We are confident that as long as we work together and fight for fair trade instead of free trade, the steel industry will continue to provide good jobs with fair pay and benefits that support families and sustain communities."

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