YOUNGSTOWN Pipe mill workers await word on sale

LTV expects to pick a successful bidder for its Copperweld unit by July 31.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Workers at LTV's tubular pipe mill in Youngstown are waiting anxiously for word about the sale of the company's tube and wire business.
"Everybody's on edge," said Fred Gentile, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 1331.
He said he's not sure what to expect from the sale of LTV Copperweld and declined to speculate on the future of the mill.
The deadline for submitting bids to Cleveland-based LTV was Wednesday.
Frank Filipovitz, LTV vice president of human resources, said the company isn't releasing any information about the bids.
LTV said in a court filing that it expected to select a winning bidder or bidders by July 31. Judge William Bodoh of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Youngstown would have to approve the selection.
Gentile said union officials aren't being told anything about the offers or upcoming negotiations with the companies that placed bids.
He said at least a half-dozen companies have toured the Youngstown mill.
Company officials have said in court that the Copperweld business is profitable and they expect it to be operated after a sale.
Work slowdown
Gentile said business has been slow for the Youngstown mill, which has six workers laid off. Employees have been working four days a week, instead of five, for most of this year because of reduced orders, he said.
The mill has about 50 hourly and 30 salaried workers.
Copperweld also has an office on Albert Street in Youngstown. The office, which employs 40, is the headquarters for its pipe and conduit division.
Copperweld, which has annual sales of about $1 billion, has 22 plants in North America and Europe and about 3,000 employees.
LTV already has sold its LTV Steel unit to International Steel Group, a newly formed company.
LTV is selling off its plants to pay off creditors. After filing for bankruptcy protection in December 2000, the company decided last year that it didn't have the cash or customers to continue operating.

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