On the Picket Line

U.S. Steel workers rally in fight for new national contract

By David Rosenfeld
October 31, 2022

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. — More than 200 United Steelworkers members from U.S. Steel’s Gary Works braved rain and stiff winds to send a message to the corporation’s CEO, David Burritt, who was speaking here Oct. 11 to the local chapter of the Association for Iron and Steel Technology. The contract for some 13,000 union members at 13 company steel mills across the country expired Sept. 1.

“We don’t want to take concessions,” Willie Julkes told the Militant. A 27-year veteran at Gary Works, Julkes is a maintenance mechanic. The unionists are working under a day-by-day contract extension. “People are frustrated that we don’t have a contract.”

Trucks and cars passing by the busy highway honked their support as Julkes and others held up signs saying, “Solidarity.” Workers chanted, rang cow bells and waved signs and flags to make sure the company boss got the message: “No contract. No peace!”

Several hundred union members had marched in Virginia, Minnesota, Oct. 8 when Burritt visited the area. Some 1,550 USW members work at U.S. Steel’s two iron ore mines in the northern Minnesota Mesabi Iron Range.

“We are nowhere close on wages, health care, pensions, any type of benefits, vacations, personal time off, family paid time off, parental leave,” USW representative John Arbogast told marchers.