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Steelworkers Tell LTV They’ll Negotiate

February 25, 1992

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The United Steelworkers of America said Monday they are willing to negotiate a new contract with LTV Corp., but warned they would fight attempts to cut salaries and benefits.

″Our willingness to cooperate with reasonable company actions is exceeded only by our determination to fight unjustified takeaways,″ stated a resolution passed in Pittsburgh by 19 local unions that represent 13,400 LTV workers.

In another development, Thomson CSF and the Carlyle Group were preparing a bid for the aerospace and missile division of LTV, The New York Times reported in Tuesday editions.

The bid by Thomson, a large French military electronics company, and Carlyle, a Washington-based investment firm, represented an expansion of their earlier offer to buy only LTV’s missile unit, according to The Times, citing sources close to the bankruptcy negotiations.

LTV, in its recently announced bankruptcy plan, proposed selling its entire aerospace and missile division to a joint venture formed by Lockheed and Martin Marietta.

The expanded Thomson-Carlyle offer was meant to compete against that bid, the Times said.

LTV Corp.’s second plan to end its long-running bankruptcy was unveiled Feb. 14 and was embraced by most creditors. But a major hurdle for the plan was the company’s contract situation with the USW.

LTV Treasurer K.C. Caldabaugh previously said the company would have to win concessions from the union. Creditors want a new labor contract for assurance of LTV’s costs when it emerges from bankruptcy.

The union said it is opposed to what the creditors want - steep benefit cuts and other concessions.

But LTV spokesman Mark Tomasch said Monday that the union’s willingness to negotiate was a positive sign

″The company is pleased that the union is prepared to engage in meaningful contract negotiations,″ Tomasch said.

The union said it was concerned that LTV would ask a bankruptcy judge to nullify the current contract as early as next week.

″This misguided strategy guarantees a work stoppage and makes eventual agreement that much more difficult to achieve,″ the USW resolution stated.

Tomasch said the company had no comment on the union’s concerns.

LTV’s contract with its steelworkers expires on either Aug. 1, 1993 or the day the company emerges from Chapter 11, whichever comes first.

The company said it hoped to be out of bankruptcy by the end of the year, ending one of the nation’s largest and lengthiest Chapter 11 cases.

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