Presidents of all local steelworkers unions tied to RG Steel - from Warren, Ohio to the local Ohio Valley to Baltimore, Maryland - currently covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the bankrupt company gathered in Pittsburgh Monday to hear what USW District 1 Director Dave McCall and union attorneys had to say about changes coming to the day-to-day lives of their members in the face of shifts in ownership.
Members of the union, regardless where they have worked under RG, or which local they are a member of, have been expecting news signaling the impending arrival of an end to the contractual agreement still in place today.
USW Local 1190 represents steelworkers assigned to RG Steel entities in Steubenville, Mingo and Follansbee.
The local's president, Ernie Gambellin, followed Monday's meeting in Pittsburgh with an informational meeting in Steubenville for his local's members. Most have been out of work for more than three years. USW 1190 also represents employees of the Follansbee coke plant, which has not been completely shuttered and has maintained a working force of employees.
The exceptions are its members employed at the coke plant in Follansbee, which is operated under joint ownership of RG Steel and Severstal.
Ownership of the Mingo Junction mill is now in the hands of Frontier, a company generally thought of as a scrap specialist.
Gambellin noted the possibility of continuing production at the mill under that ownership is expected to be looked at as the new owner assesses the resources there and their tentative potential. The local's president noted the new ownership is not the primary focus at present.
All employees of RG Steel covered by the USW's collective bargaining agreement have been told there will be dramatic changes coming in the wake of the reorganization and the now anticipated end to the current agreement because of that change.
However, the only solid message presidents were able to take back to members after Monday's informational meeting was the contract and its negotiated benefits - including insurance - still in place today, said Gambellin.
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