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Region steelworkers to get bonuses of as much as $16,500
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Region steelworkers to get bonuses of as much as $16,500

Gallery: U.S. Steel's long history in the Region

A steelworker walks at U.S. Steel's Gary Works.

Steelworkers in Northwest Indiana often have to endure years of lean times — idled plants, decommissioned blast furnaces and layoffs.

But the highly cyclical boom-and-bust steel business has been booming of late amid record prices for hot-rolled steel coil. And the Region's steelworkers are sharing in the wealth in a major shot in the arm to the Northwest Indiana economy.

U.S. Steel is paying out record profit-sharing bonuses of more than $16,500, and Cleveland-Cliffs record profit-sharing bonuses of more than $6,100 for the third quarter, United Steelworkers District 7 Director Mike Millsap said.

"It's going to help a lot with Christmas shopping," he said. "It means a lot to their families, which have made a lot of sacrifices over the years."

During the second quarter, U.S. Steel paid steelworkers record profit-sharing bonus of more than $9,400 and Cleveland-Cliffs more than $3,500.

But then Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, which just celebrated its 120th anniversary by ringing the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange this week, reaped a record $2 billion profit in the third quarter. U.S. Steel spokeswoman Amanda Malkowski said the record profit resulted in record profit-sharing.

Cleveland-Cliffs, a major large company after buying ArcelorMittal USA and AK Steel last year, posted a record profit of $1.3 billion in the third quarter.

The companies have started paying out the profit-sharing bonuses.

USW Local 6787 President Pete Trinidad, who represents thousands of workers at Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor, said the last contract from 2018 ensured steelworkers would get a 7.5% share of the company's profit. Workers will get $9.92 per hour with a maximum of 48 hours per week, he said.

Steelworkers who put in more than 520 hours during the quarter will earn $5,160.48 while workers who clocked 624 hours during the three month period make $6,192.58.

U.S. Steel employees will make $34.44 per hour in profit-sharing for 480 hours for the quarter as a result of the steelmaker's record third-quarter financial performance.

"I think our members are very pleased with the profit-sharing," Millsap said. "It was negotiated by the steelworkers union years ago, and it's paid off. It's paid off and on depending on what they're doing."

Millsap said the union would seek to preserve the profit-sharing bonuses during the next round of negotiations.

"We have to negotiating during bargaining but will try to keep what we got and improve on it if we can," he said.

The workers who make all the steel that's been fueling record profits should share in the prosperity, Millsap said.

"The workers deserve it," he said. "It's a benefit the workers don't see if the company is not making a profit. There would be no profit without the workers."

 
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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.

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