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Union: 'U.S. Steel can afford to bargain fair and equitable contract'

USW union members march from downtown Gary to U.S. Steel Gary Works during a protest in 2016. The United Steelworkers said U.S. Steel is in a financial position to provide a fair contract.

U.S. Steel turned a profit of $214 million in the second quarter, and the United Steelworkers union said workers should share in the company's prosperity.

"The company reported higher-than-expected profits for the second quarter, and we know that they expect to do well in the coming months and years," USW said in an update to members. "U.S. Steel can afford to bargain a fair and equitable contract, and our proposals will reflect that."

The union said its bargaining committee has made progress on local plant issues with U.S. Steel as it works to negotiate a new contract that will encompass everything from pay to benefits to working conditions at the mills.

"Our USW bargaining committee members have held meetings with representatives from U.S. Steel all week in Pittsburgh in an effort to resolve our outstanding local plant-specific issues," USW said in an update to members. "While members have made some progress in those discussions, a number of unresolved issues remain, many of which will be referred to the full committee to address at a later date."

USW's U.S. Steel bargaining committee has divided into subcommittees that will focus on specific areas such as pension, benefits, training, safety and health.

"Our discussions on those issues are still in the very early stages and we will continue to keep you updated as negotiations continue," USW said in the update to members. "We value the input of every member in every plant, so please continue to stay in touch with your CAT coordinators and CAT members inside your facility to share your concerns."

The union has been distributing "Steel Strong" stickers so its members can display solidarity.

"Your support and solidarity is critical to a fair collective bargaining agreement," the union said in a press release. "Our solidarity is what has gotten us through some of our most difficult times in the past and it is what is going to help us achieve the best possible contract this time as well."

A U.S. Steel spokeswoman said the company hopes to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.