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LTV CORP. Retirees rally over benefits



Published: Wed, February 13, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Local retirees are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., to ask for federal help.

THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN

YOUNGSTOWN -- A crowd of about 20 retired steel workers, family members and supporters waved signs outside the federal courthouse downtown Tuesday to call attention to the plight of LTV Corp. retirees who may soon lose their health benefits.

Henry Sadinski, a Youngstown resident who retired 17 years ago from LTV's Center Street plant, said he and his wife are wondering how they'll pay their health-care costs.

The situation is especially critical for some widows and widowers whose monthly pension is less than the cost of paying for prescription coverage, Sadinski said.

Bill Harrison, a WCI Steel retiree from Mecca Township in Trumbull County, joined the demonstration, even though his benefits are not in danger. "Not yet," he said. "My health benefits are safe today, but who knows what could happen. We want people to realize what's happening to our retirees."

Opposing payments: One of the messages on retirees' signs was a protest against LTV's plans to pay millions of dollars to executives to stay with the company in its final months. Judge William Bodoh of U.S. Bankruptcy Court is considering the company's request.

Patricia Leon-Games, former Warren City treasurer and a Warren resident, said some of the retirees are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., to lobby for federal dollars to pay the health care of retirees in the steel industry. She said other demonstrations outside the courthouse are also planned.

Cleveland-based LTV is liquidating and trying to sell its plants.

LTV retirees' pensions will be covered by the federal Pension Guarantee Board, although payment levels may vary. Health benefits are now being paid through a company fund set up to pay retirees' health care, but that fund is expected to run out in about two or three months.




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