WARREN - RG Steel LLC hasn't asked the United Steelworkers to find a buyer for its plants, and hasn't had any negotiations with the union on the subject, a company spokeswoman said Thursday in response to an online report.
Bette Kovach said the steelmaker, which employs about 1,100 hourly and salaried workers at its Warren mill, actually has a business plan to show it will achieve positive cash flow in six months even if prices for its basic product, hot band steel, drops to $650 a ton.
"We've done a lot of self-help internal efforts that have lowered our production costs by $150 per ton," she said.
RG Steel earlier this month cut pay and some benefits for salaried and nonunion workers in a cost-saving effort that included efforts to boost steel throughput, fine-tuning processes and finding other sources for the goods and services.
Kovach said RG, as with other steelmakers, has had a softer-than-expected second quarter, but pointed out it had its best April since its founding a little more than a year ago.
Responding to a claim that the company has no orders after May, she said, "Our customers have remained loyal and continue to place orders consistent with their needs. We do adjust production to meet the order book, but our facilities in Warren and Sparrows Point have been operating continuously."
Warren and Sparrows Point, Md., have blast furnaces to make steel from raw materials. Much of Warren's steel is sent to to RG plants in Yorkville for cold rolling and Martins Ferry for coating because those lines in Warren haven't operated for a couple of years, Kovach said.
"Those facilities act as finishing for Warren," she said.
Because the company schedules its Wheeling, W.Va.,-based operations in line with customer orders, staffing at those plants fluctuates weekly, Kovach said.