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USWA: SHARON STEEL ANNOUNCES PERMANENT CLOSURE; MORE THAN 700 STEELWORKERS TO COLLECT PENSIONS

 PITTSBURGH, July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) announced today that the bankrupt Sharon Steel Corp. has declared its Farrell, Brainard and Coil Coating operations permanently shutdown for pension purposes, making more than 700 union members immediately eligible for early pensions.
 The declaration resolves grievances filed by the union late last year seeking the shutdown designation to activate benefits of its labor agreement with the company. Under the union's contract with Sharon Steel, employees meeting certain age and service criteria are eligible for early pensions when facilities are closed permanently.
 The action was formalized in agreements signed today by union and company representatives.
 "The announcement ends the uncertainty for the pension-eligible members who had been waiting for months to begin collecting what they had worked so hard to earn," said Tony Rainaldi, director of USWA District 20. "It is something we have pursued strenuously in our effort to make the best of an increasingly worsening situation."
 The company also informed the union that it will file a notice with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) of its intent to terminate pension plans covering the employees at the three facilities. It will not make the filing with the PBGC until it has made the first payments to union members, at which time it will set a date for the plans to terminate.
 In addition, the company said it would join the union in resisting attempts by any group or agency to establish an earlier date for the pension termination.
 Sharon Steel filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy laws for the second time on Nov. 30, 1992. It had taken the same action on April 17, 1987, reorganized and emerged from bankruptcy on Dec. 20, 1990.
 In its second bankruptcy proceeding, the company was prevented from restarting operations or making any expenditures without the express permission of its major secured stockholders, led by Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh and Citibank.
 A decision signed June 29, 1993, by Bankruptcy Judge Warren Bentz permits the banks to satisfy their liens against Sharon Steel by seizing $21 million in cash reserves, selling millions of dollars worth of inventory and equipment, and collecting accounts receivables. The banks had previously extracted about $30 million from company assets. The bankruptcy court has valued Sharon Steel's total assets at about $138 million. The banks' liens total about $79 million.
 -0- 7/20/93
 /CONTACT: Pete Eritano, staff representative, USWA District 20, 412-869-3933; Gene Bianco, president, USWA Local 1197, 412-347-1484; or USWA Communications Department, 412-562-2442/


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

DM -- PG010 -- 6671 07/20/93 10:13 EDT
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Date:Jul 20, 1993
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