LTV CORP. Creditors panel joins pact talks
THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
Talks between the union and company were to resume today.
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- LTV Corp. creditors say they are joining negotiations on a new labor contract and expect an agreement by June 26.
The steelmaker's unsecured creditors committee said Wednesday that it expects an agreement can be reached that will meet LTV's restructuring objectives and provide wages and benefits acceptable to the United Steelworkers of America.
LTV Corp. said that it welcomes the committee's involvement and that talks will resume today in Pittsburgh.
The company and union have been talking for weeks about a restructuring plan that would help the struggling steelmaker save money. LTV wants to slash expenses, while the union wants to save jobs and benefits.
Wants pact to be voided: Cleveland-based LTV broke off talks Friday and filed a motion Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Youngstown that asks that the current labor agreement be voided.
Leo Gerard, Steelworkers president, said the announcement by the creditors committee should dispel uncertainty created by LTV's actions. He said he is confident an agreement can be reached by June 26. Any agreement would need bankruptcy court approval.
Review of LTV's request to cancel the contract will continue in bankruptcy court, however. Judge William Bodoh was to conduct a telephone conference with lawyers today to schedule a hearing on LTV's request.
LTV said it has been unable to reach an agreement with the union over health-care costs and is losing more than $1 million a day.
Creditors committee: The creditors committee consists of 15 members appointed by the U.S. Trustee's Office to represent the interests of creditors. Members include companies that provide iron ore, coke, electricity and shipping services. Representatives of LTV's salaried retirees and union workers also are included.
LTV filed for protection under federal bankruptcy laws in December.
It employs about 15,000, including about 320 in the Mahoning Valley. It has a coke plant in Warren, a steel tube plant in Warren and an office for its tubular products division in Youngstown.