Workers who lost their jobs as part of RG Steel's bankruptcy deal can now apply for help under the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance and Health Coverage Tax Credit programs.
"So many of RG Steel's employees have put their hearts and souls into their work in the mills - often for years or decades," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. "Petitions have previously been approved for most of RG Steel's facilities, allowing the employees to receive these important benefits to help them get the support they need and get back on their feet. And now the Wheeling and Follansbee employees will get those benefits as well."
Rockefeller pushed the Department of the Labor to approve benefits for RG Steel employees. With this announcement, all trade adjustment petitions for RG Steel's facilities have been approved, including in Wheeling, Follansbee and Beech Bottom in West Virginia and Warren, Martins Ferry, Yorkville, Mingo Junction and Steubenville in Ohio.
Together, the programs provide income support, job training and health care benefits to employees laid off as a result of RG Steel's bankruptcy.
"West Virginians work hard every day, and I have fought for them every day. When they are let go through no fault of their own, it's good to see that they're getting needed support," Rockefeller said.
The trade adjustment program ensures that workers who lose their jobs as a result of outsourcing to foreign countries are provided with training and financial assistance to transition to new employment. Eligible workers also qualify for the health credit, which makes health insurance coverage more affordable by providing a 72.5 percent tax credit to laid off employees receiving benefits, as well as retirees who receive pension payments through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
A firm specializing in "demolition" and "industrial gutting" - Frontier Industrial of Buffalo, N.Y. - purchased the entire Mingo Junction plant at an auction for $20 million.
RG also sold the closed Steubenville North plant to a subsidiary of Herman Strauss Inc., a Wheeling-based recycling business. Strauss paid $4.3 million for about 103 acres, plus another $10.7 million for the scrap and machinery.