Usx, Steelworkers To Reopen Talks As Contract Nears End

January 07, 1991|By New York Times News Service

USX Corp. and the United Steelworkers of America will reopen negotiations today that could determine whether the nation's largest steel-maker can retain the edge in cheaper labor costs it has enjoyed over its rivals for two years.

USX's contract with 18,000 steel workers expires at the end of this month. Talks between management and the steel workers on a new four-year contract broke down six weeks ago.

Industry analysts and experts say it is too soon to tell whether USX, which suffered through a six-month shutdown four years ago, will have another strike on its hands.

Although many experts contend that the economy has declined too much for either side to accept a strike, some USX customers, preparing for the worst, are lining up other suppliers, and USX has been building up inventories.

Both sides are still far apart on all basic issues.

The steel workers are pushing for job protection for employees in case USX's steel business is sold or spun off, as some shareholders hope and as management has said it will consider doing.

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