MARQUETTE - The United Steelworkers union announced Friday that it ratified a new, 37-month contract with Cliffs Natural Resources, covering USW members at the Empire and Tilden mines and workers in Minnesota.
"This is an agreement that ensures a stable future for our members, retirees and the company," USW District 11 Director Robert Bratulich, chairman of the union negotiating committee, said in a written statement. "Our members should be proud of the work their negotiating committees did during this round of bargaining."
According to the statement, the new contract provides a 4.5 percent wage increase with an additional $4,250 in bonuses through the term of the agreement. It also preserves the current health care program for active members and continues to provide health care for retirees and surviving spouses.
The Steelworkers and Cliffs held talks for four weeks in August, but were unable to come to an agreement and negotiations stalled just as the prior labor contract expired Aug. 31.
They agreed to take a one-month break from negotiations - with a rolling extension of the expired contract - before resuming talks Oct. 8. They reached a tentative agreement Oct. 11. The union has been working through the ratification process since that time.
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