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Akers National Roll remains open; no closing date set

Joe Napsha
| Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, 4:00 p.m.

The Akers National Roll/Union Electric Steel plant in Avonmore is continuing to operate and the status of the full closure of the plant is unknown, a company spokeswoman said.

The Akers National Roll plant, which produces metal rolls for strip and plate rolling operations, still has 90 employees at the factory, Melanie Sprowson, investor relations director for Ampco-Pittsburgh Corp. of Pittsburgh, said Tuesday. The Carnegie-based company owns the Akers National Roll plant, whose machine shop and heat treatment department, which hardens the steel rolls, are continuing to make products, Sprowson said.

The plant was scheduled to lay off 157 workers in April and May 2017, according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice that Ampco-Pittsburgh filed in February with the state Department of Labor and Industry. The company also filed a WARN notice in December 2016 announcing it would lay off 148 workers as of March 10, 2017.

Akers National Roll started shutting down its foundry at Avonmore in April, Sprowson said.

The ongoing operation, however, does not indicate Ampco-Pittsburgh is reversing the decision on the layoffs, Sprowson said.

“The WARN notice remains in effect,” Sprowson said.

Ampco-Pittsburgh said in October 2016 it was temporarily idling certain parts of the Avonmore plant beginning in January 2017 as it restructured operations in light of a drop in demand for cast rolls. That decline in demand made the plant less efficient to operate.

Ampco-Pittsburgh bought Sweden-based Akers AB, including the Akers National Roll plant in Avonmore, in a March 2016 deal reported to be worth $80 million.

Production and maintenance workers at the plant are represented by the United Steelworkers Local 1138.

Lou Bonnoni, president of USW Local 1138, couldn't be reached for comment. Bobby MacAuliffe, director of USW District 10 in North Versailles, said he has not received notification of the idling or closure of the plant.

USW officials last year claimed that the company was using the threat of closing the Avonmore facility to get the union to accept dozens of job cuts.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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