WARREN TOWNSHIP - Warren Steel Holdings LLC began mass layoffs Saturday, according to a form workers received to apply for state unemployment compensation.
Meanwhile, the job picture for the area's largest steelmaker - Severstal Warren, formerly WCI Steel Inc. - remains unclear, as officials try to balance production with orders.
The form received by Warren Steel Holdings employees stated the last day worked was Saturday, almost a year to the day after the company officially launched operations by making steel rounds on Nov. 21, 2007.
Located in the former CSC Ltd./Copperweld Steel mill, the company employed 70 production workers and 85 total employees. According to a worker at the plant, about 60 employees received the form.
The Ukraine-owned company expected to add 135 jobs as recently as July, prompting Trumbull County to accept a $336,000 state grant to upgrade a railway bringing scrap steel to the mill. Other funding boosted the total investment to $866,100.
Steel rounds go to customers in the seamless tube and pipe markets for oil drilling and recovery, along with forging markets. The plant also makes special bar quality steel for high-stress applications in automotive and aerospace.
OAO Severstal, the Russian company that owns Severstal Warren and employs about 1,000 hourly workers, is cutting production as it seeks to ''adjust and balance production with customer demands,'' spokesman Katya Pruett said.
The company has said it plans to cut production by 20 percent in 2009 and will delay $8 billion of investment planned for 2009 to 2011.