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SHARON STEELWORKERS WIN BACK PAY AND ELIGIBILITY FOR TRAINING AND BENEFITS UNDER LABOR DEPARTMENT ACTIONS

 PITTSBURGH, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Labor has taken legal and administrative actions that award members of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) employed by the bankrupt Sharon Steel Corp. $730,000 in back pay and the right to job retraining benefits, the union said today.
 The back pay award applies to Sharon employees at all locations. The training decision affects workers at Sharon Steel's Farrell plant, although the USWA is asking that the decision be expanded to cover other workers.
 The back pay results from a complaint the union filed with the Labor Department accusing Sharon Steel of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying its employees for work they performed between Oct. 11 and Nov. 30, 1992, the date on which the company filed for bankruptcy protection.
 As a remedy, the union asked for, and the Labor Department secured an order forbidding Sharon from shipping any product made during the period in question. The ban on shipments will be lifted once the payments are made.
 The company agreed to the terms of the injunction in U.S. District Court here. The order covers about 1,200 USWA members. In addition, it provides payment of about $200,000 to 315 salaried, non-union workers.
 Under the agreement, repayment for normal hours worked will be at the minimum wage rate. For all weeks in which overtime was worked, employees will be compensated at their regular hourly wage for the first 40 hours, and time and one half for all hours over 40.
 Sharon Steel said it would petition Bankruptcy Judge Warren Bentz for approval to make the payments. Bentz previously had forbidden any expenditures that were not approved by the creditors, which include Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh and Citibank of New York. The agreement between Sharon and the Labor Department indicates the creditors will not object to the payments.
 In the other action, the Labor Department ruled Sharon employees in Farrell are eligible for training and benefits under the Trade Act because imported steel products identical or similar to those made at Farrell had a negative impact sales and employment.
 The USWA has asked the Labor Department to reconsider its ruling that workers at Sharon's Monessen subsidiary were not eligible under terms of the act.
 "Although we're disappointed by the Monessen finding, the union applauds the Labor Department for acting quickly and decisively on behalf of workers who have been victimized through no fault of their own," said Lynn R. Williams, the USWA international president. "It's a 180-degree turn from the kind of response we received during the prior three administrations.
 "We do plan to continue our attempts to persuade the Labor Department that our Monessen members have been harmed by imports and are entitled to training and benefits to enable them to embark on new careers."
 The USWA has also filed similar petitions for workers at Sharon's Brainard Strapping & Coil Coating Co.
 -0- 3/11/93
 /CONTACT: USW Communications Department, 412-562-2442/


CO: U.S. Department of Labor; United Steelworkers of America; Sharon
 Steel Corp. ST: Pennsylvania IN: MNG SU:


CD -- PG011 -- 5206 03/11/93 15:38 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 11, 1993
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