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Cost Reductions to Secure Weirton Steel's Position
Weirton, WV— Weirton Steel Corp. officials said
they believe the company will succeed in fulfilling the remainder of its
cost-savings steps to help the company become more competitive.
An Associated Press article said the steelmaker could be forced into bankruptcy
or liquidation if company retirees do not agree to proposed changes in
their health care coverage, one of the cost-savings measures the company
"Within the past several weeks, we reduced expenses by $38 million
through new labor agreements and like concessions from management which
include a 5 percent pay cut and a pension freeze. That was step one. The
second step involves our retirees," said John H. Walker, Weirton
Steel president and chief executive officer.
"We believe we will trim an additional $10 million in costs with
help from our retirees. We currently are holding informational meetings
with them to explain a proposal that asks them to assume part of their
health care coverage. While the issue is painful, they understand the
need to keep the company and their benefits intact and have responded
favorably to the proposal."
"Our employees and retirees are extremely knowledgeable about our
company and the industry. Nevertheless, we have been, and continue to
be candid with them in meetings and in written materials about the task
before us and the scenarios of success and failure to move the company
forward. The Associated Press obtained written materials intended only
for our retirees which mentioned those scenarios," Walker explained.
"What the Associated Press article does not mention is the favorable
response we've received from our retirees for the health care proposal.
Retirees are signing up for the program. They have responded courageously
and there is every reason to believe they will continue to support the
Walker said the third step is for the company and Independent Steelworkers
Union officials to address health care proposals for active employees
as well as improvements in company-wide productivity and efficiency. Together,
the issues could result in an additional $34 million in savings.
• Fax 419-535-3225 •
P.O. Box 351748, Toledo, OH 43537-1748
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