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COMPANY LEAKS FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT ISPAT BRW DEAL, USW SAYS

 JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- "Inaccurate information about negotiations between the United Steelworkers of America (USW) and the Ispat Group over the former Bethlehem BRW Division was reported in the media last week," said Steelworkers District 15 Director Andrew V. "Lefty" Palm.
 "Misleading charts and other materials supposedly representing the latest "final" economic offer from Ispat -- information that could only have come from the company -- were given to the media and to many Steelworkers after we met with Ispat representatives last week," charged Palm.
 "Not only does that violate the news black-out both sides agreed to," Palm warned, "but it calls into question the sincerity and good-faith of the company. We can no longer turn the other cheek and let their repeated violations of their own agreement go unanswered."
 "What's more," Palm continued, "we've tried for weeks to get information from the Ispat people about their plans for the BRW, just like we normally get from other companies in similar circumstances. We asked for the full facts about what they need to make a go of it for our members and our communities, and we've gotten nothing that can even remotely justify what their real offer is."
 "Our members have a right to the facts," Palm stated. "While it is deplorable that these people would break their word to us, it is even more reprehensible that they would deliberately distort their latest offer to our members and attempt to mislead the public."
 "It has been reported in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat," Palm said, "that Ispat offered total hourly compensation averaging from $16.39 in the first year, to $19.43 in the fifth year of the contract. The reported numbers are grossly misleading and just plain inaccurate in several important respects."
 First, Palm noted, the numbers reported reflected total employment cost figures and were not wage levels. The actual wage levels for the vast majority of employees would be $8.50 to $11.00 per hour.
 Second, Palm said, "the numbers are entirely speculative. They include as much as a $1.49 in 'profit sharing.' Profit sharing is always speculative, and especially so in this case." Notwithstanding repeated requests to Ispat, Palm said "the union has not been provided with any data which would substantiate the likelihood of profit sharing payments."
 In addition, Palm further stated, the numbers include as much as $2.00 of insurance benefits that will be provided by Bethlehem, "benefits which were previously earned by employees while working for Bethlehem and will be provided by Bethlehem whether or not Ispat buys the BRW."
 This does not represent an 'increase' in benefits as the media has suggested, Palm said, "but simply a change in who takes credit for an existing benefit. Ispat is now taking cost credit for Bethlehem's old obligation."
 Finally, the numbers include certain estimated future medical costs which have been increased to reflect inflation.
 "All of this adds up to inflated numbers by Ispat concocted as a blatant public relations ploy," Palm charged. "They said as much in the last meeting."
 After correcting Ispat's faulty mathematics, the union spokesman said, "the accurate total average hourly compensation offered and paid for by Ispat would be $14.98 in the first year of the contract. It finally creeps up to $16.41 in the last year of the contract, with the bulk of the increase postponed until the fifth and final year of the contract."
 "Companies come and go," Palm added, "but Steelworkers are part of the lifeblood of the community. We coach little leagues. We sponsor the scouts. We raise money for United Way. We have an obligation to make certain that a little-known foreign company isn't trying to rip us off," Palm said, "and destroy everybody's standard of living."
 "I'm reluctant to raise these issues because I'm still hopeful something can be worked out. We've got many complicated issues to work through," Palm stated. "And talks are scheduled to continue this week. When there is something significant to report, we will inform our members and our communities at the appropriate time and in an appropriate manner. We will not send out distorted, false information."
 The USW represents some 2,000 members at the former Bethlehem BRW Division's Johnstown, Lackawanna, N.Y., and Sparrows Point, Md., steelmaking facilities. The Ispat Group of Jakarta, Indonesia, has indicated an interest in purchasing the facilities.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/8/93
 /CONTACT: Andrew V. "Lefty" Palm, director, USW District 15, 412-824-8140, or Ray Jastrzab international representative, District 15, 814-535-7621/


CO: United Steelworkers of America; Ispat Group; Bethlehem Steel ST: Pennsylvania IN: MNG SU:

CD -- PG015 -- 4358 02/08/93 18:20 EST
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Date:Feb 8, 1993
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