Republic, which declared bankruptcy in April 2001, had its four pension programs picked up by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) just two weeks ago (see PBGC Picks Up Another Steel Casualty ). Concerned that union members would be shortchanged by government assumptions, the United Steelworkers of America filed a motion earlier this week opposing the termination of two pension plans (see Union Tries to ‘Shut Down’ PBGC Termination Request ).
Republic, the nation’s leading supplier of special bar quality steel, now says it also opposes the termination as recently proposed by the PBGC.
The USWA claims that the PBGC’s requested termination of four defined pension plans one month prior to the anticipated closure of all RTI facilities would result in the denial of “shutdown” benefits to employees with 15, 20, or more years of service to the company. Furthermore, the USWA claims that the PBGC has allowed shutdown benefits at LTV and CSC – and says there “is no reason for them to treat RTI workers differently.”
“Like the USWA, we believe the PBGC’s unilateral action works against the best interests of Republic’s union employees,” said Joseph F. Lapinsky. “We will vigorously support the union’s efforts to have a role in the PBGC’s action.”
Republic Technologies International, based in Fairlawn, Ohio, has nearly 4,000 employees.