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Sharon Steel Plans To Lay Off 500 Workers Temporarily

August 26, 1992

FARRELL, Pa. (AP) _ Sharon Steel Corp. expects to save $1.5 million a month by laying off about 500 workers, or about 20 percent of its work force.

Sharon Steel said Tuesday it will lay off about 400 workers at its Farrell mill and 100 office workers effective Sunday.

Low steel prices forced the move, said Philip Smalley, senior vice president of administration.

The layoffs will last as long as an industrywide slump in prices, most likely at least until the end of the year, he said.

″Everybody has to share the load,″ Smalley said.

The company has about 2,000 hourly and 600 salaried workers. It outlined its plans at meetings with United Steelworkers leaders Monday and Tuesday.

Operating losses have reached about $3 million a month.

The company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in late 1990. Earlier this summer, it delayed payment of some bonuses and employee stock ownership payments because of a cash crunch.

The company previously laid off about 60 salaried workers and cut spending for salaried workers to reduce costs by $1 million a month, Smalley said.

He said the company is not negotiating permanent job cuts now, but the leaders of two United Steelworkers locals said the company wants to negotiate major work rule changes that would eliminate the jobs of some of those being laid off.

Gene Bianco, president of USW Local 1197, which represents 2,200 production and maintenance workers, said he would fight any efforts to cut jobs.

″They want a permanent fix to a temporary problem,″ he said.

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