LTV CORP. Deal for plant falls through

A proposed deal would have restored some production work until the end of the month.
WARREN -- A union official said a deal that would have saved LTV Corp.'s coke plant in Warren fell apart Wednesday, but he hoped the deal could be resurrected today.
Bill Prejsnar, unit chairman for United Steelworkers of America Local 1375, said he was told the deal would have restored the coke plant to 75 percent of full production for the rest of February.
He said he was told the deal was agreed to and just needed to be put down on paper.
Late Wednesday, however, something happened to kill the deal, he said.
Mark Tomasch, an LTV spokesman, declined to comment.
LTV has stopped production and is preparing to turn off the plant's furnaces.
The shutdown, which would cause severe damage to the furnaces, could occur any day.
Prejsnar said he hopes something can be worked out today between LTV and other companies.
He said he wasn't sure who was involved, although Tonawanda Coke Corp. of New York was preparing to buy the plant last week before it pulled out.
Goal: Prejsnar said the union is pushing to have the life of the plant extended until the end of the month. LTV is idling steel mills in Cleveland and Indiana until Feb. 28, and union officials think that coke from the Warren plant would be needed if someone restarts the Cleveland mill.
A buyer of the Cleveland mill might either want to buy the Warren plant or at least buy coke from another company that could acquire the local plant. Coke is a coal-based fuel that is used in the steelmaking process.
The plant used to employ about 180 hourly workers, but it now has about 40 workers who are maintaining the furnaces and preparing equipment for a shutdown.
Cleveland-based LTV laid off about 7,000 workers with the closing of its steelmaking operations. It filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2000 and now is liquidating the company.

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