Letters Warn Of RG Steel Layoffs

YORKVILLE – While definite decisions have not been made as of today, the RG Steel company is notifying workers this week that layoffs and plant closures could occur soon.

Company officials confirmed WARN – Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification – letters were in the mail and on their way to individual employee households.

WARN letters serve as formal notice that within 60 calendar days, the company expects to implement a massive layoff or close the majority of its operations from Baltimore to Warren, Ohio.

“Since there is continued uncertainty regarding (the) outcome of discussions with our lenders as to the required level of funding to support the working capital necessary to sustain business operations, we felt it prudent to issue the WARN notices at this time,” RG Steel spokeswoman Bette Kovach said this morning.

No timetable for such changes has yet been formally announced and local union presidents have been furnished copies of the letter to review.

The president of the Yorkville United Steelworkers of America Local 1223, Jerry Conners, confirmed the existence of the letters and of the dramatic changes of events coming, though he had not yet been furnished a copy of the communication to review firsthand, and so declined to elaborate on the document and its meaning to the immediate actions at the mills.

“I believe this is, once again, in preparation of some type of court action to come,” said Conners.

“I would have liked to have had this information so I could give our members better information and answers the questions that will be coming when guys start getting these certified letters in the mail,” reflected Conners.

Rumors of an impending bankruptcy filing have been increasing in recent weeks, but without any official confirmation.

“I know they have not filed as yet,” said Conners late Tuesday.

A WARN notice does not necessarily mean the plant is closed. It’s a notice there may be a mass layoff or closing. They are required by law to issue this notice if there is a possibility of a mass layoff or closing,” explained Conners.

Speaking for the impact on USWA Local 1223 in Yorkville, Conners offered,”There has been no definite talk at Yorkville of a closure or a mass layoff.”

Tuesday the WARN letters had been put in the mail and are now on their way to the homes of the majority of RG Steel employees. The only known exceptions will be two operations which are joint ventures and not solely owned by R.G. Steel: The Ohio Coatings Co. and Mountain State Carbon.