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Steelworkers’ Union Critical of Employment Plan

October 27, 2012
By LINDA HARRIS - For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

STEUBENVILLE - The United Steelworkers union says bankrupt RG Steel's efforts to get bankruptcy court approval to pay 21 "key employees" nearly $800,000 to stay on the job for the balance of 2012 is a "slap in the face" of thousands of workers who've lost their jobs and benefits.

"Specifically, the company wants to pay a $2,000 monthly stipend for each individual to allow them to purchase health insurance, along with bonus payments of three months' salary if the individual stays through Dec. 31," the USW told members Friday. "Hiding behind the curtain of confidentiality, RG has refused to name these 21 people, but says that these employees perform 'essential functions' relating to sales, accounting, treasury, IT and other unidentified 'administrative' functions."

USW leaders called RG Steel's plan "a shamefully predictable effort to reward its own."

"Meanwhile, RG owes steelworkers and retirees money for unpaid vacation, severance, medical claims and other broken promises," the union said, referencing worker claims totalling more than $600 million.

"The owners of RG caused harm for steelworkers, retirees, and, frankly, everybody who did business with the company," the USW said. "The steelworkers who struggled for generations to build and maintain these facilities and are now jobless have suffered far more than any of the unidentified and mysterious 21 salaried workers the company wants to reward, and we will make sure the court understands this."

A bankruptcy court hearing on the proposal is slated for Nov. 20 in Delaware.

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