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FORMER USW MEMBERS WIN JOB OFFERS, BACK PAY AWARDS FROM CITISTEEL, USA

FORMER USW MEMBERS WIN JOB OFFERS, BACK PAY AWARDS FROM CITISTEEL, USA
 CLAYMONT, Del., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers of America (USW) said today that after attempting for three years to escape unfair labor practice charges brought by the USW, CitiSteel USA has agreed to make payments totaling more than $730,000 to 117 steelworkers who worked at the plant under its former owner, Phoenix Steel, but were denied jobs by CitiSteel.
 In addition, CitiSteel will offer new jobs to 23 former Phoenix workers.
 These were the major terms of a settlement between the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and CitiSteel, which is wholly owned by the government of the Peoples Republic of China. The settlement resolved charges by the USW that CitiSteel had systematically discriminated against former Phoenix workers in hiring a new workforce at the Claymont plant.
 According to the agreement, CitiSteel has 90 days to make the required payments and job offers to the former Phoenix workers. The company is also required to post notices in the Claymont plant, pledging to respect the workers' right to organize and to avoid any discrimination against job applicants because of their union activities.
 CitiSteel, a corporation created and owned by a financial agency of the Chinese government, purchased the Claymont plant from Phoenix in June, 1988. Phoenix had closed down operations at the plant in March, 1987, putting 600 steelworkers out of their jobs.
 The USW had filed its charges with the NLRB on Feb. 2, 1989, after CitiSteel reneged on commitments it had made to hire former Phoenix workers, the union said. The company also rejected repeated requests by the USW that it recognize the union and meet with union representatives to discuss its hiring practices, the union said.
 The NLRB, after a two-year investigation of the USW charges, issued a complaint on May 10, 1991, alleging that CitiSteel had rejected job applications from 126 former Phoenix workers "because of the job applicants' Union membership and activities, and in order to avoid recognizing the Union as the exclusive representative" of the workforce.
 The NLRB complaint also declared that CitiSteel is the "successor" to Phoenix Steel and therefore obligated to recognize the USW as bargaining agent for its workers. This issue was addressed in a recent three-week hearing before an NLRB administrative law judge, whose ruling is expected within several months.
 "The settlement between CitiSteel and the NLRB completely vindicates the USWA's charge that the company systematically discriminated against the union and our members," said John Reck, director of USW District 7.
 "Unfortunately," Reck added, "by fighting these charges for three years, the company deprived our members of the jobs they were entitled to. We are of course pleased that some of our former members will now receive jobs offers and that many more will receive awards for wages and benefits they should have been earning on the job. But these awards can never make up for the suffering these workers had to endure because of the company's attempt to evade the law."
 Noting that CitiSteel is owned by the China International Trust & Development Corp. (CITIC), a financial agency of the Chinese government, Reck declared:
 "This settlement sends a strong signal to the Chinese government that while it may trample workers' rights in its own country, it can't do the same to workers in this country. It also sends a signal to all companies, wherever they are located, that the Steelworkers union will fight to win justice for our members, no matter how long it takes."
 USW staff representative Norman Hayman, who pursued the NLRB action, emphasized that the union has always sought a cooperative and productive relationship with CitiSteel.
 "If the company had chosen to negotiate, rather than to fight, these years of litigation could have been avoided," Hayman said. "CitiSteel should now understand that its best course is to recognize our union and work together for the good of the company and its workers."
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 /CONTACT: Norman Hayman of the USW, 301-398-8746, or 215-265-7577, or USW Communications Department, in Pittsburgh, 412-562-2442/ CO: United Steelworkers of America; CitiSteel USA ST: Delaware IN: MNG SU:


DM -- PG008 -- 6233 01/02/92 15:07 EST
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Date:Jan 2, 1992
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