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22. March 2011

US - USW disappointed with proposed RG Steel contract

Members of the United Steelworkers Union Local 1190 said that they got some unfavorable news about a proposed contract with RG Steel LLC.

Ms Ernie Gambellin, a USW union member for 22 years, said that "Very disappointed. They made no commitments to restart our plants."

Steelworkers also said the contract isn't offering everything they expected.

Ms Gambellin said that "We were already working for the last year USD 2 behind and we were promised. The people that were working were promised that we would recoup those wages. We're not recouping any of those wages. We're not going to receive any signing bonuses. And the biggest thing of all is that our plants aren't even going to be running."

Severstal North America officials announced earlier this month that The Renco Group Inc signed a definitive agreement to purchase Severstal's operations in Wheeling and Sparrows Point. According to Severstal and Renco, the sale is expected to be final this month, pending regulatory approval.

Officials from Renco said that a newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary RG Steel LLC signed a stock purchase agreement to acquire the three steel companies.

Union officials said Renco planned to keep plants in Martins Ferry, Yorkville and Warren running as they have been and the company wanted to restart the plant in Sparrows. Union workers said the plants in Mingo Junction and Steubenville have been put on the back burner until the economy improves.

Ms Gambellin said that "They say if the economy picks up, we'll be the plant that runs. We would start up. But you can see that the economy's not picking up."

Steelworkers said if they don't go back to work, everyone in the Valley will feel the effects.

Ms Gambellin said that "The cities of Mingo Junction, Steubenville, they're not going to see anything. They're not going to see any taxes or anything."

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