Deal with Arcelor is reached, officials say

A second taconite plant on the Iron Range reached a tentative agreement Saturday with union workers.

The United Steelworkers announced that it has tentatively agreed with ArcelorMittal on a three-year contract, which would cover nearly 14,000 workers nationwide, including about 300 in Virginia, Minn.

David McCall, the chairman of the union's negotiating committee, said in a statement that the agreement preserves workers' wages, benefits and protections for seniority while maintaining limits on work done by outside contractors.

The tentative contract, coming after 10 weeks of negotiations, is subject to ratification by union members. The previous contract expired almost a week ago, although employees continued working.

In a statement from ArcelorMittal, Michael Rippey, the president and CEO, said: "We are pleased to have a new, tentative agreement with the USW and to have reached a fair and equitable outcome without disruption to our business operations."

Spokespeople for both the company and the union declined to provide further details on Saturday.

The United Steelworkers reached an agreement last weekend with U.S. Steel Corp. to cover 1,300 workers at MinnTac in Mountain Iron and KeeTac in Keewatin.

Negotiations at a third company -- Cliffs Natural Resources -- broke off last week, but the two sides agreed to keep operating under the existing contract. Cliffs has nearly 1,100 employees at Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite in Eveleth.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.