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Cliffs, USW reach contract agreement

Trucks haul mined taconite to the crushers at Cliffs in Hibbing. (file photo / News Tribune)

Cleveland-Cliffs and United Steelworkers announced on Sunday that they had reached a tentative agreement for a new four-year labor contract.

The agreement is pending ratification by USW members and no further details about the contract were released on Sunday due to the pending ratification. The contract, which is expected to take effect Monday, will cover about 1,800 USW-represented workers at Cliffs' United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite mines in Minnesota and Tilden and Empire mines in Michigan, according to Cliffs' announcement on Sunday.

"We are pleased to reach a new labor contract that is fair and equitable to both parties, and provides Cliffs a competitive cost structure for future success," Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves said in a statement. "This agreement once again reinforces that we have more in common with the USW than we have differences, and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership."

USW International President Leo W. Gerard congratulated Cliffs for "bargaining seriously to reach a fair agreement" with the union.

"Cliffs acknowledges the sacrifices of our members during recent tough times and now that the industry is prospering, looks to give its dedicated workforce its fair share," Gerard said in a statement.

Meanwhile, contract negotiations between USW and ArcelorMittal and between USW and U.S. Steel have continued and union members continue to work under extended contracts, which expired Sept. 1. Union members at ArcelorMittal properties, including at the Minorca mine in Virginia, and at U.S. Steel properties, including Keetac in Keewatin and Minntac in Mountain Iron, authorized strikes in mid-September.

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