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Warren Steel Holdings workers face reduced hours, wages



Published: Fri, October 11, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Jamison Cocklin

jcocklin@vindy.com

WARREN

About 60 workers at Warren Steel Holdings gathered at a special meeting where they were told their hours would be reduced and their wages cut.

Workers at the Warren-based melt-shop and casting facility, where a variety of steel products are made, learned of the meeting earlier this week.

Company officials informed employees, who attended the Thursday meeting at Kent State University at Trumbull in Champion that orders had fallen sharply and it was time to focus on turning the future of the business around, according to those who attended.

Many chose to remain anonymous as they feared disciplinary action for speaking out about the meeting’s topic.

A caster, who said he had a role in managing a crew at the facility, will lose $150 per week in pay. Although only 60 or so employees attended the meeting, the caster said there are more than 100 working at Warren Steel Holdings who will be affected.

Another, who left the meeting early out of frustration, said company officials were short on answers when some questions were asked.

Attempts to reach the company to comment Thursday failed.

“They’re trying to get out of the red and into the black,” one worker said as he took a brief break from the meeting to smoke a cigarette. “Orders aren’t what they used to be.”

Contacted Thursday, Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda said he was under the impression the company was doing well. He said he hadn’t heard anything, but added that a friend’s son had made it through a round of layoffs in recent months.

Officials in Warren Mayor Doug Franklin’s office said they knew nothing about any problems at Warren Steel Holdings.

The company’s website says it has about 500,000 tons of annual steelmaking capacity, but workers said the number is now lower.

In 2007, the plant — which operates at the former Copperweld Steel complex — was restarted after two years of renovations. In 2009, additional equipment was added, and the company’s product line was expanded.

Workers said hours will be cut to 32 per week. For now, the company does not plan on laying off any of its workers, they said.


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