WARREN - Members of USW Local 1375 anxiously are awaiting news about the fate of Warren's RG Steel plant and its proposed sale to CJ Betters Enterprises expected to be discussed today in a bankruptcy courtroom.
CJ Betters Enterprises, a Pennsylvania-based company, was named last week as the apparent winner of the auction to purchase the Warren plant. Betters bid $17 million, but also received a $1 million consideration because the company promised to work to reopen the facility.
Charles Betters, founder and operator of CJ Betters Enterprises, said he plans to look at every avenue available to reopen the plant.
Although pleased with the early statement from Betters, workers such as Pat Mangan, an employee with RG Steel for more than 30 years, described being anxious and concerned.
"All of my brothers and sisters in the union want to return to work," Mangan said. "We want a bidder that is willing to reopen and operate the plant."
A second company, Environmental Liability Transfer Inc., is the backup bid at $15 million. The Missouri-based company is a member of the Commercial Development Company Inc. (CDC) family of businesses.
CDC is a leading North American real estate development firm specializing in the development, acquisition and redevelopment of major commercial and industrial sites.
Environmental Liability Transfer, in partnership with Hilco Industrial, is the leading bidder for RG Steel's Sparrows Point plant. The companies are attempting the buy the Maryland plant for $72 million.
Hilco Industrial is known to be a company that buys distressed industrial assets and sells them for parts.
Area elected officials said Tuesday they are doing what they can to help get the plant reopened.
"I did have conversations with Mr. Betters," said Warren Mayor Doug Franklin. "He would like to get this part of the process done, so they can explore every option available to it and begin to make decisions.
"I told him we would do everything we can locally, and I provided him information about the Ohio Department of Development, so he can receive as much help as possible from both the state and local levels to reopen the facility," Franklin said.
Trumbull County commissioners likewise said they are willing to ''exhaust all efforts,'' said Commissioner Dan Polivka, to see the mill re-started and the laid-off workers get back to work.
Polivka said he heard from several community members over the ''great concern out there now with the future uncertainty'' at the Pine Avenue S.E. mill.
A meeting or at least a conference call with commissioners, county planning commission staff and Betters is being arranged.
''We want to make sure they know we're here to help in any way we can,'' Polivka said Tuesday. ''Possibly some low interest loans, possible grant money ... basically try to exhaust all avenues to try to help some of those furloughed workers, hopefully we can get that plant restarted.''
Tribune Chronicle reporter Ron Selak contributed to this report.