RG Steel update

A check late Saturday for updates on court filings that would have reflected a transfer of ownership for the RG Steel Yorkville mill Friday was not even hinted at among the very few docket entries available then which should have reflected actions on the court slate for the day before – Friday.

According to the court schedules of late the drop dead date by which the sale of the Yorkville assets was to have been completed with Esmark was Friday.

Union officials at the local level were also unsure why that exchange had not taken place as expected on Friday.

The President of the United Steelworkers Union Local in Yorkville, Jerry Conners, said he has made inquiries seeking a solid confirmation of the reason why the sale transaction was not completed Friday, but as yet has been given no firm explanation.

Esmark’s successful bid for the Yorkville assets included their making offer of employment to more than 200 RG Steel Yorkville employees.

Conners confirmed Saturday that the union remains committed to negotiating in good faith with Esmark in the hope of soon reaching a mutually acceptable labor agreement with the ultimate intent of getting the mill up and running again.

On a different but related note, union officials are anticipating members should be in receipt of a letter containing details of possible alternative healthcare options for their individual consideration.

The contract which had provided a number of employee benefits was terminated late last week at the mutual request of the union and the company.

A request for the court to terminate the contract had been expected to be seen among recent filings, so its arrival was no surprise.

Both sides also mutually asked the court to install a modified labor agreement in its place.

A request to set aside a routine waiting time for exchanges on such proposals was sought and approved, allowing the change to go into effect immediately.

However, because the union was willing not to force a legal battle over terminating the contract certain limited employee health and pharmacy benefits are remaining in place through the end of August.

But, with few exceptions those will all end at the close of the day on August 31, making the possibility for a seamless change in coverage such as healthcare for steelworkers and their families more difficult with the passing of each day, despite anticipating individual notification of what possible insurance coverage options will be available.

Loccisano can be reached at kimfromthetl@gmail.com