Steel Saga:Cleveland-Cliffs' Ongoing Battle for American Ownership

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Amidst a steel acquisition tussle, Cleveland-Cliffs remains undeterred after U.S. Steel rejected a $7.3 billion bid. Facing discontent from the United Steelworkers Union, U.S. Steel's sale to Japanese-owned Nippon Steel irks the union, citing a lack of transparency. Cleveland-Cliffs, backed by union support, vows to persist, believing the deal with Nippon Steel is far from settled. Lourenco Goncalves, CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, pledges a fight for American manufacturing jobs, while praising the Biden administration's scrutiny of potential antitrust violations.


In the ongoing saga of the steel industry, Cleveland-Cliffs finds itself entangled in a web of acquisitions and union discontent. Despite U.S. Steel rebuffing a substantial $7.3 billion bid from Cleveland-Cliffs in August, the latter remains resolute in its pursuit.

The plot thickens as U.S. Steel seals a sale agreement with Japanese-owned Nippon Steel in December, a move that has drawn sharp criticism from the United Steelworkers Union. The union, disappointed with U.S. Steel's choice of a foreign buyer, expresses concerns over transparency and accuses the company of prioritizing greed over long-term vision.

A letter to union members from the United Steelworkers reveals their frustration with Nippon Steel, alleging a lack of communication and transparency. The union asserts that Nippon Steel's Houston-based company, Nippon Steel North America (NSNA), would acquire U.S. Steel, allowing the parent company to sidestep contractual obligations to union members.

Despite the union's request for financial information on NSNA, Nippon Steel admits to the absence of any such details for the holding company. This revelation intensifies the union's discontent, as it fears that commitments to labor, pension, and retiree insurance agreements may be compromised.

In a surprising twist, Cleveland-Cliffs, the initial bidder, gains support from the United Steelworkers Union. In its 2023 yearly earnings call, CEO Lourenco Goncalves asserts the company's continued commitment to the union members and questions the finality of the deal with Nippon Steel.

Goncalves emphasizes Cleveland-Cliffs' dedication to preserving and expanding American manufacturing jobs and commends the Biden administration for scrutinizing the deal to ensure it aligns with antitrust laws. Despite setbacks, Cleveland-Cliffs remains steadfast in its belief that the concluding chapter of this steel saga is yet to be written.


In the unfolding chapters of the steel industry's narrative, Cleveland-Cliffs emerges as a resilient protagonist, unwilling to concede defeat. The rejection of its bid by U.S. Steel and the subsequent sale to Nippon Steel have stirred the waters of discontent within the United Steelworkers Union. The lack of transparency from both U.S. Steel and Nippon Steel adds layers of complexity to the plot. As the steel saga continues, Cleveland-Cliffs, buoyed by union support, stands firm in its determination to secure American manufacturing jobs. The scrutiny from the Biden administration injects a new dimension, raising questions about potential antitrust violations in the deal. The steel industry, a stage for corporate maneuvers and union battles, awaits the unraveling of the final act, with Cleveland-Cliffs refusing to believe that the curtain has fallen.

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