Recent changes in LTV's contract with the Steelworkers union allow temporary plant shutdowns.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Workers at LTV/Copperweld Tubular Products on Poland Avenue will be getting a few more days off during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays because orders for the plant's products remain slow.
The Youngstown-based LTV subsidiary said it will idle its electric welded tube plant here for a week starting Sunday, and another shutdown is tentatively planned for the week starting Dec. 30.
Plant manager William Stevens notified the 55 hourly workers of the planned layoffs this week, citing a continuing business slump.
The temporary plant shutdowns are permitted under LTV's revised bargaining agreement with the United Steelworkers of America. Company and union leaders negotiated the changes as part of LTV's effort to reorganize its debts so that it can emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
John Ciavarella, vice president of USWA Local 1331, said workers were guaranteed employment under the union's previous agreement.
Contract revisions allow LTV to temporarily idle plants and to lay off up to 500 employees a week nationwide as a way to cut costs when business is slow.
The revised pact also gives workers 20 percent ownership of the company, two seats on LTV's board of directors and profit sharing.
Layoffs: LTV laid off eight mill hands in August because expected increases in demand for the pipe it manufactures for the oil and gas well drilling industry did not materialize.
Ciavarella said about six more employees have been laid off since then, bringing the plant's hourly work force to 55.
He said plant managers have scheduled a shutdown for the week of Christmas for maintenance purposes. Officials will wait to see if orders increase by then before deciding whether to go forward with another shutdown the following week.
LTV, based in Cleveland, is the nation's third-largest integrated steelmaker. Besides the pipe mill, which is one of six plants in LTV Tubular, the company has a coke plant in Warren with 200 workers and an office in Youngstown with 40 nonunion employees.