Steel talks arbitrator selects Bethlehem offer

MARYLAND WATCH

July 31, 1996

The arbitrator has ruled, and 11,000 hourly workers at Bethlehem Steel Corp., including those at its Sparrows Point mill, will be earning a bit less than they hoped for in the next three years.

Bethlehem Steel and the United Steel Workers of America entered into a "baseball-style" arbitration last month after failing to reach an agreement in talks that reopened their six-year contract to consider wage increase proposals.

The union was seeking $1.50 in hourly wage increases over three years, and two additional weeks of vacation for its members. The contract expires July 31, 1999.

But, in a binding decision, arbitrator Richard Bloch selected the company's offer: a 50-cent hourly raise effective next month, raises of 25 cents an hour in each of the next two years and guaranteed lump-sum bonuses of $500 in 1998 and 1999.

Additional, contingent bonuses totaling up to $1,000 will be awarded if Bethlehem -- the nation's second largest steelmaker -- reaches certain profit levels.

The raises are in addition to an increase of 50 cents an hour that took effect last August, and $2,000 in bonuses spread across 1993 and 1994.

Pub Date: 7/31/96

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