Steel workers, companies begin talks to ease slump

The United Steelworkers and major steelcompanies will open talks on a new labor contract with possible solutions to the industry's worst slump in modern times, Monitor contributor Ed Townsend reports.

Discussions were authorized by USW's local union presidents at a bargaining conference in Pittsburgh June 18, with the vote 263 to 79 for a deliberately vague policy statement intended to start talks, but also to ease spirited opposition to any prospect of concessions to the industry.

The companies, in asking for early negotiations to replace contracts that run to Aug. 1, 1983, called for relief from labor costs, which they said have contributed to the industry's problems and forced layoffs of more than 133,000 steelworkers.

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