The changes extend the current labor contract, which was set to expire in September next year, until February 2006, while implementing an undisclosed number of job and wage cuts over the next six months.
Well aware that the survival of the company was at stake – the steel maker currently operates under federal bankruptcy protection laws – union leaders believe that they have got as much as they can under the circumstances.
The company has lost about $316 million since the beginning of 2000, including a net loss of $38.8 million for the second quarter this year and filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors a year ago, when it was unable to make a $15 million bond payment.
The union has begun mailing a summary of the proposed changes to its members, along with ratification ballots that will be tallied at the end of September. Once ratified, the contract must be approved by Wheeling-Pitt’s board and a federal bankruptcy judge.