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JUDGE IN LTV BANKRUPTCY CASE ORDERS FURTHER MEETINGS

 JUDGE IN LTV BANKRUPTCY CASE ORDERS FURTHER MEETINGS
 NEW YORK, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- For the second day in a row,


U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Burton Lifland today recessed a hearing on a request by the LTV Steel Co. to terminate its labor and retiree benefits agreements with the United Steelworkers of America (USW) and ordered the two sides to engage in further meetings.
 He made a similar ruling Monday after lawyers for the union and company had delivered opening arguments.
 Lifland's order today followed a company petition to limit the hearing to 20 hours -- 10 hours for both sides -- including both direct and cross-examination. Lifland took the request under consideration despite union objections.
 Attorney Bruce Simon, who is arguing the union's case, described the 10-hour request as "another example of this company's arrogance. In supporting papers, union lawyers noted that far simpler contract rejection cases have required weeks of testimony.
 Anthony Rainaldi, chairman of the union negotiating committee, and Jack Parton, the committee secretary, called LTV's time-limit request "ridiculous and outrageous."
 "LTV is simply trying to stifle the union and it will not succeed. If we aren't heard in court, then we'll surely be heard in the streets. The union has substantial and valid reasons, with testimony to support them, to show that LTV does not need and should not receive permission from Judge Lifland to terminate our agreements.
 "If, however, Judge Lifland does grant approval to throw out these agreements -- which were arrived at by intense and hard bargaining -- then we want the company to be very clear about one thing. If LTV terminates our agreements, our members will be on picket lines in considerably less time than 10 hours. And they will stay there until LTV gets back to the bargaining table and negotiates new agreements."
 Rainaldi and Parton pointed out that the two sides should not have been before Lifland in the first place.
 "We had the framework for an agreement on June 21 after many months of hard bargaining," they said. "But instead of taking the final steps toward resolution, LTV broke off talks and retreated to what it thought was the safe haven of bankruptcy court. That was a calculated risk that LTV may come to regret, because there is no safe haven for this company away from the bargaining table."
 In the absence of any attempt by the company to throw it out, the current agreement would expire either Aug. 1, 1993, or when LTV emerges from bankruptcy, whichever occurs first.
 LTV is demanding the right to drastically reduce health care benefits for retirees, and to cut wages and benefits by $120 million a year, or $5 an hour, claiming the actions are necessary to facilitate its emergence from bankruptcy.
 It also seeks the right to re-terminate its Steelworker pension plans and turn the obligation for payment of those benefits over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
 The USW represents 14,000 USW Steelworkers at LTV plants in six states, and about 47,000 retired union members covered by LTV pension and insurance plans.
 The Steelworker Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) sent busloads of delegations to the hearings from Aliquippa, Pa., and East Chicago, Ind. The Aliquippa retirees were here Monday, demonstrating in front of the Manhattan courthouse where the hearing is taking place. The East Chicago retirees arrived today and will remain through Wednesday.
 -0- 7/14/92
 /CONTACT: USW Communications Department, 412-562-2442; Tony Rainaldi or Jack Parton, USW Negotiating Committee, at Law Offices of Cohen, Weiss and Simon, 212-563-4100, /
 (QLTV) CO: United Steelworkers of America; LTV Steel Co. ST: New York IN: MNG SU: CON


CD -- PG013 -- 9221 07/14/92 15:37 EDT
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Date:Jul 14, 1992
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