Union: Weirton Steel no longer for sale
Weirton Steel will remain a component of Mittal Steel USA, and is no longer for sale, the leader of the Independent Steelworkers Union, which represents 1,250 members at the West Virginia plant, said Tuesday.
Mittal Steel also wants to make Weirton the "premiere" producer of tinplate in the United States, said Mark Glyptis, president of the Independent Steelworkers Union. He said union leaders were encouraged and optimistic following a meeting with senior Mittal USA officials in Chicago on Monday.
Glyptis said in a statement today that the Weirton steel operations will remain "status quo," with a mutual agreement to look for ways to improve the performance of the steel mill.
"The future of Weirton is in the hands of the employees ... and we are prepared to lead the way in making Weirton a stronger partner with the Mittal corporation," Glyptis said. "Weirton is no longer for sale. We will remain part of Mittal Steel USA," he said.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice said Mittal Steel must sell its Sparrows Point tin mill plant near Baltimore, instead of the Weirton mill to settle antitrust issues over the pending merger with Arcelor SA. The decision clouded the fate of the former Weirton Steel Corp.
The government said selling the mill near Baltimore was the best way to prevent a monopoly in the eastern U.S. market for tin-plated steel.
In January, Esmark Inc., a Chicago-based steel services company, signed a letter-of-intent with Mittal to buy parts of Weirton Steel, particularly its finishing facilities. The government's decision caused Mittal and Esmark to back off those plans.
The independent union at Weirton wanted their mill to be sold, instead of Sparrows Point, saying that it hadfailed to thrive under Mittal's ownership.