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LTV STEEL Judge to hear proposed deal



Published: Mon, July 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Workers would be rewarded with stock ownership and profit sharing, the union says.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

YOUNGSTOWN -- The union at LTV Corp. would make changes in work rules and health-care benefits in exchange for part ownership of the company under a proposed labor deal.

The United Steelworkers of America said the deal would give workers 20 percent ownership, two seats on LTV's board of directors and profit sharing.

"It gives them a voice in crucial corporate decisions and rewards their contributions to renewed productivity with stock ownership in the company and a very fair level of profit sharing, once LTV gets back on its feet," said Leo Girard, Steelworkers president.

The agreement was to be presented today to Judge William Bodoh of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Youngstown. If approved, it would be presented to union membership for ratification.

The union and LTV's creditors reached the deal Friday after weeks of bargaining. The creditors stepped in after the union and LTV failed to reach an agreement during months of talks.

LTV, which filed for bankruptcy protection in December, had said it would shut down its steelmaking operations if it didn't reach a new labor agreement that would provide cost savings.

Highlights: The union said the deal would save the company millions of dollars. These are the highlights, according to the union:

URestructuring work arrangements while maintaining limits on outside contracting, and revising staffing levels to reduce the costs of production.

U Restructuring managed health care to reduce costs without reducing benefits to either workers or current and future retirees.

U Providing millions in loans from the union-negotiated Voluntary Employee Benefits Association in order to get LTV through its current difficulties, subject to repayment as the company's profitability returns.

U Working with all the parties to approach the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. about finding ways for LTV to meet its obligations to the pension plan.

"This agreement sets the stage for the government action," Girard said.

Revitalization: He said it is essential for the government to take action on restraining imports and giving steelmakers access to capital to restore profits to the industry.

The union also has proposed a revitalization plan for LTV's Cleveland West mill, which the union hopes will result in operations being maintained there. The study of the plan is to be completed by Sept. 15.

The agreement covers 9,000 employees, including about 320 at a Warren coke plant, Youngstown pipe plant and Youngstown office.

shilling@vindy.com




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