What To Know About Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) New Labor Agreement

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) issued a press release at the end of last week saying that it had reached a tentative labor agreement with its union workers in Minnesota and Michigan.

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If you are an investor in Cliffs or considering investing in the stock, there are a few takeaways to keep in mind regarding the company’s proposed labor deal.

2,000 workers covered

The new labor contract covers United Steelworkers (USW) at Cliffs’ Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite mines in Minnesota and Empire and Tilden mines in Michigan. About 2,000 workers are represented in the proposed new labor contract.

3-year backdated contract

The proposed new labor contract that Cliffs has reached with workers at its mine operations in Minnesota and Michigan covers three years. However, the agreement is backdated in the sense that it is effective from October 1, 2015, which means it will only cover 2 years practically speaking.

Ratification pending

The new labor agreement has not been ratified by USW and Cliffs said it will not be issuing additional details about the deal until it has been ratified.

What are the parties saying?

However, the parties on both sides appear to be contented with the contract. Cliffs’ CEO, Lourenco Goncalves, was quoted in a press release by the company saying that he was pleased that they had reached a new labor contract with their union workers. He said the contact was fair and equitable for the parties involved, though he provided no specifics.

CEO Goncalves further said that the new labor agreement provides Cliffs with a competitive cost structure that should ensure the future success of the company.

In a separate post on social media, United Steelworkers Local 4974 talked of the new contract with Cliffs as resembling the agreements previously reached with ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel.

Hints

Though Cliffs declined to reveal the details of its new labor agreement, there are hints that the proposed contract protects healthcare plans for both retirees and active members. The other hint that emerges from USW’s social media post is that workers who are getting displaced because of idling of the Empire Mine have been considered in the contract negotiations. Some 400 workers at Empire Mine are being affected by the mine idling.

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