WARREN Coke plant begins hiring LTV workers
Workers temporarily will earn about $1 an hour less than they made with LTV.
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR
WARREN -- A dozen former LTV Steel workers are headed back to their jobs at the Warren Coke Plant and more are expected in coming weeks.
The number expected to be hired back keeps fluctuating, but it will be less than the 180 hourly workers that worked at the plant until it was closed in December, said Bill Prejsnar, an official with the United Steelworkers of America Local 1375.
The initial group of workers goes back to the plant Monday and more are to be added, he said.
International Steel Group, a new company formed by a New York investment company, bought most of LTV Steel and is working on getting its steel mills running. The Warren plant supplies coke that is used in blast furnaces at LTV mills.
A temporary pay scale of between $12 and $17 an hour has been established until International Steel and the Steelworkers can work out a contract.
The union contract with LTV called for hourly wages of between $13 and $18.50, with the higher wages earned by maintenance employees.
Prejsnar said the workers also are receiving an additional cash payment because the new company is not yet paying for benefits such as health care.
He said negotiations have not started. Company and union officials have reached an understanding that the workers to be hired will be represented by the Steelworkers.
Prejsnar said plant management wants to restart production at the coke plant in mid-May.
International Steel said last week that it intends to hire about 2,000 of the 7,500 LTV workers who lost their jobs when LTV Steel shut down production at steel mills in Cleveland and Indiana, a finishing plant in Illinois and coke plants in Warren and Chicago.
LTV Corp., the parent company of LTV Steel, is in bankruptcy court. It sold its steel-making operations to International Steel and is looking for a buyer for its LTV Copperweld metal fabricating business.
International Steel was created by Wilbur Ross, who heads WL Ross & amp; Co. of New York, which specializes in turning around troubled companies.
Ross has brought in an executive team mostly from Nucor, a North Carolina minimill that has operated profitably by tying workers' pay to incentives and having work rules that are more flexible than those of large steel producers.