THERE WILL be plenty to talk about when members of United Steelworkers Local 1223, Yorkville, gather at the union hall for their regular monthly meeting at 3 p.m. Monday.
The USW local's president, Jerry Conners, will certainly have the full attention of the members as they are all anxiously awaiting information on any details concerning what to expect as another new era of ownership is about to dawn bringing with it an historic first: life apart from the family of mills still known to most area residents as "Wheeling-Pitt."
The local's members are anxious to learn any details that might help firm up the picture of what the day-to-day impact on each of them is likely to be, both in the short term and longterm.
A prime question from the USW members: what is the status of the labor agreement and its wages and benefits package?
"Right now the labor agreement is still in place," said Conners late Friday.
He expects it to remain in place for the immediate future, and noted any change in that will come with advance notice and would have to be approved by the court.
With the question of when timecards might again be being punched by employees of the mill, he said he hopes to have more information on that shortly.
When it comes to the question of how difficult it will be to restart basic operations at the Yorkville mill, Conners confirmed that the operations were systematically and carefully idled by the experienced employees specifically so a start-up could go as safely and smoothly as possible.
In point of fact, he noted the mill has continued to have a small number of people working in the shipping area of the Yorkville mill to complete shipping out RG customer owned inventory.
"There is probably about another week of work to be done to finish shipping RG's inventory from Yorkville to customers," he shared.
Yorkville also continues to serve as a warehousing facility for OCC products, he added.
The first official legal footprint confirming the mill's ownership is about to change made it into the public eye via the docket of the federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del. late Friday with the posting of an entry title, "Notice of successful bid and backup bid in connection with (the) sale of certain assets of RG Steel Wheeling, LLC (Yorkville assets)".
According to the two-page long basic court docket entry, RG's Yorkville assets are being purchased at a total cash value of $5,150,000 by Esmark Steel Group LLC.
Also reported to be participating in the purchase in an as yet undefined level other than as a partner, is TCC, a Seoul, Korea based steel business which has a long-standing 50 percent ownership of the nearby Ohio Coatings Co. which is located just south of Yorkville.
At the time of the initial announcement of the Esmark bid for the RG Yorkville assets, it was also announced the company had purchased RG's 50 percent interest in OCC.
It also confirmed late Friday there was an official back-up bidder: Frontier Industrial Corp. with a bid of $4,900,000.
Initially, the auction price announced publicly for the Yorkville assets was $4,700,000.
Detailed information about the purchase is expected to be posted by mid-week, according to information from the Federal Bankruptcy Court records.
This Wednesday, a sale hearing is scheduled in the bankruptcy court, at that point the matters are to be reviewed and those actions gaining court approval will move forward in the transition of ownership process.
Once a change in ownership is approved, the continuing process will include the necessity of reaching a new labor agreement.