RG Steel’s dental, eye care filing amended

YORKVILLE — Bankrupt RG Steel’s filing Friday, asking court approval for terminating the existing contract with its employees represented by the United Steelworkers union and seeking approval for a number of benefits to terminate on Aug. 31 and others to be retroactively ended Aug. 10, has apparently been amended over the weekend to allow eye and dental care coverage through the end of the month.

Local union officials were apparently called on twice over the weekend to communicate two all important messages from District 1 Director David McCall, the union’s lead person when it comes to the bankruptcy and contract negotiations.

Both messages concerned the contract termination request filing by RG Steel late Friday, and which was characterized as being “consensual” in nature.

The second message shared late this weekend indicated that in fact eye care and dental care for the covered steelworkers would be allowed to continue being a covered benefit through the end of August.

Union officials on the local levels had been previously told to tell union members their dental and eye care coverage as negotiated in the 2011 contract was remaining intact until at least Aug. 15.

Those same officials had also been cautioning members the contract termination request from the company was to be filed soon, but had been led to believe it would be late this week before the filing was made.

Among the benefits to be stopped with the implementation of the modified labor agreement are what is referred to as “SUB” (proposed as retroactively stopped on Aug. 10); RG Steel’s obligations with respect to required contributions to the Steelworkers’ Pension Trust (proposed as retroactively stopped on Aug. 10); all active and retiree benefit programs described in the basic labor agreement will be considered terminated effective Aug. 31.

The debtors are to place into escrow $6.5 million from the proceeds of the assets sales “which will be used for the purpose of paying medical and prescription drug claims incurred on or before Aug. 31, 2012 and received on or after Aug. 11.

It is not known if this amount will now be being pulled from to cover the costs associated with providing an extension of the eye and dental benefits.

Thursday’s motion hearing will again be held before Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Casey.

Loccisano may be reached at kimfromthetl@gmail.com