WARREN - Layoffs at RG Steel's Warren mill stand at 729 hourly and 24 salaried workers as the plant continues to process and ship customer orders but not make fresh steel, a union leader said Friday.
The latest count leaves 73 hourly and 39 salaried employees still active, with another round of layoffs expected after about a week, United Steelworkers Local 1375 President Darryl Parker said.
"We're still filling orders we had on the books. Shipping department is still up, but other departments are down, except for maintenance workers doing repairs and some work before a complete idling," he said.
Parker said he hasn't received a timeframe for a full idling, noting shipping will be the last department until a buyer is found.
He declined to talk about the likelihood of a buyer for the mill, but said visitors are still touring the plant, adding, "That's a positive."
The 1,100-worker mill has been desirable in previous hard times because it makes a wide range of special steel needed by certain customers.
We're hopeful we'll find a buyer that's passionate about steel and understands the markets for this particular plant, so they see the value of our work force," Parker said.
In the meantime, "People are taking everything in stride," he said. "We have to allow the system to take its course, and we'll see what comes out of this."
Union representatives are helping laid-off members with unemployment benefits and Supplementary Unemployment Benefits claims, Parker said.
RG filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 31 in Wilmington, Del., citing weak business conditions.
Creditors originally set a July 27 deadline to sell assets, including the company's largest mill at Sparrows Point, Md. On Thursday, an agreement was reached in court to extend the sale deadline by about two weeks in an effort to get the most money.
Under the revised plan, the bankruptcy financing agreement that's supplying cash to the company will end on Aug. 10 instead of July 27.
If RG Steel secures a lead or "stalking horse" bid, its bankruptcy financing would automatically be extended to Aug. 24, allowing 10 more days than the previous extension date. Aug. 24 is considered the absolute "drop dead" date to close a sale.