Plant employees hear about company’s future

CHAMPION – Dozens of workers from Warren Steel Holdings on Thursday afternoon packed into the first of what could be monthly employee meetings to hear predictions on the industry and the outlook for their employer.

New plant manager John Scheel said the voluntary meeting was scheduled to help foster better communications among employees. It is part an initiative aimed at keeping employees better informed about the business and to inform workers about the latest company developments, including relevant changes in business operations, market conditions and performance updates, a company spokesman said.

The discussion may have eased tensions that had been building before the meeting when some employees expressed concern due to the recent scaling back of hours and elimination of overtime.

Scheel acknowledged work schedules of some of the plant’s 190 employees had been scaled back recently to as little as 32 hours, largely due to a reduction in production, which he described as not unexpected at this time of year. He said there have been no layoffs nor cuts to benefits.

“I think the future of the plant is pretty bright. It’s just a bad time of year,” Scheel said.

Warren Steel Holdings has operated since 2006 in part of the former Copperweld Steel facility along Mahoning Avenue in Champion. The company manufactures billets, or solid tubular products, among other products that are shipped to other facilities to be hollowed for use in the oil and gas industry, automotive, heavy equipment, rail and other industries.