LTV CORP. U.S. rep. opposes motion
The lawmaker said he expects a parade of others to join him.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich was the first, but he says he surely won't be the last, to object to LTV Corp.'s attempt to overturn its collective bargaining agreements with thousands of workers and retirees.
The troubled Cleveland-based steelmaker filed a motion in U.S. District Court here Monday asking Judge William T. Bodoh to toss out the agreements with about 5,000 employees and about 30,000 retirees in the Cleveland area.
LTV employs about 320 in the Youngstown-Warren area, and many of the company's retirees live in the Mahoning Valley.
LTV, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, argued that it has been unable to reach an agreement with the union over health-care costs and is losing more than $1 million a day.
"If drastic action is not taken, the debtors' integrated steel business will be forced to cease operating," the motion states.
Kucinich, of Cleveland, D-10th, argues that the United Steelworkers of America has offered to make concessions worth about $147 million and urged LTV to continue negotiating.
Objection: "I object to LTV's action in asking to abrogate a collective bargaining agreement which is, in essence, the major support pillar of the plan to save steel in our region," he said.
Kucinich filed a motion asking the judge to reject LTV's proposal.
"I wanted to get here and file an objection as soon as I heard about it," the former Cleveland mayor said outside the courthouse Monday afternoon.
"I won't be the only one. I expect to see a whole parade of people filing objections. It's wrong."
The company temporarily broke off talks last week in Pittsburgh, where the two sides have been working on a restructuring plan for about seven weeks.
LTV has announced plans to close a Cleveland steel mill and 900 jobs Saturday. Some workers there were already getting letters over the weekend, advising that their jobs will be eliminated.
Company officials say they must come up with a restructuring plan that saves $800 million, with about one-third of that to come from labor costs.
The company employs about 15,200, including about 7,770 in Cleveland.
Locally, it has about 200 at a Coke plant in Warren, 80 at a pipe mill in Youngstown and 40 at an office in Youngstown.