USW Fights for Bulk of Claims in RG Steel Bankruptcy Settlement

Contact: R.J. Hufnagel: (412) 562-2450,

PITTSBURGH (Oct. 15) — A federal judge today approved a structured settlement of claims in RG Steel’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case that gives USW-related entities about 70 percent of the $17.4 million total to be distributed to creditors.

The United Steelworkers (USW) joined a multi-party mediation process last year in an effort to recover as much as possible for workers and retirees who were affected by the company’s May 2012 bankruptcy filing.

“The USW did a good job in making the best of a bad situation. It’s sad that it had to come to this, and unfortunate that this has affected so many hard-working people,” said David Boyd, a USW Local 9477 retiree who was employed at Sparrows Point, Md. “But the union never gave up and kept fighting for what was right all the way to the very end.”

The USW’s share of the settlement comes to about $12 million, a sum that includes about $6.3 million in vacation and severance payments owed to about 4,000 workers at former RG Steel mills in Sparrows Point, Md., Warren, Ohio, and Wheeling, W.Va,, and at a coke-making facility in Follansbee, W.Va.

The settlement also includes payments of $2.4 million to a voluntary employee beneficiary association (VEBA) for workers at the Warren mill; $990,790 to the Steelworkers Health & Welfare Fund to cover more than $6 million in claims; more than $814,000 to the Steelworkers Pension Trust; $445,590.31 to a VEBA for workers at Wheeling-Pitt, a predecessor to RG Steel; $480,000 to cover unpaid medical claims; and about $54,000 in severance for workers at an Allenport, Pa., mill that closed in 2008.

“This settlement doesn’t make up for the fact that so many people have suffered,” Boyd said. “But if we hadn’t had the union fighting for us, we could have ended up with nothing.”

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

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