THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
The bonuses were paid from cash the plant earned in its final days of operation.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
WARREN -- Salaried CSC Ltd. employees who stuck with the sinking steel mill until it closed in mid-April are sharing about $290,000 in cash bonuses for their efforts.
Judge William T. Bodoh of U.S. Bankruptcy Court issued a four-page ruling approving the pay-to-stay payments for 27 key employees who worked through the steelmaker's April 13 closing date.
The judge said he was satisfied with the company's explanation for its need to keep the key employees working and added that the total expenditure "doesn't appear excessive."He noted that the company's lenders had agreed to use cash collateral earned in its final days of operations to pay the bonuses.
Union opposition: United Steelworkers of America, which represents about 1,200 hourly CSC workers left jobless by the mill closing, had opposed the pay-to-stay plan.
Atty. David Fusco, legal counsel for the international union, said the lenders' willingness to pay bonuses to the salaried workers contrasted with their refusal to pay health insurance and supplemental employment to CSC's hourly workers.
The laid-off hourly workers and about 260 CSC retirees lost those benefits April 1 when Judge Bodoh ruled that the lenders could no longer be forced to pay them.
Fusco, had argued that the bonus plan showed "unfair and inappropriate favoritism" to the salaried employees. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
John Kubilis, president of Steelworkers Local 2243 representing the furloughed CSC hourly workers, also was unavailable.
The company wanted the bonus plan to reward salaried employees who directed the plant's mothballing, collected final customer payments, and handled human resource duties.
CSC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and has only a skeleton crew still working. The company is looking for a buyer willing to reopen and operate the plant.