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  Saturday, September 6, 2003

 Local News

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AK Steel cuts jobs; may shut down temporarily

Staff Writer

ZANESVILLE -- AK Steel on Linden Avenue will lay off at least 10 percent of its work force in the next couple of weeks and company officials are considering "idling" the plant for several weeks.

Reduced schedules are also being considered.

"We are experiencing some layoffs this past week and will be laying off approximately 10 percent of our work force in the Zanesville plant," Alan McCoy, spokesperson for the company said. "We are considering idling the plant for a couple of weeks."

There are approximately 245 employees at the plant.

McCoy cited a "soft market," as a reason for the layoffs and reduced schedules.

"The electrical and stainless steel market is soft right now," McCoy explained.

The stainless steel processing department at the Butler, Pa. plant has already been temporarily shut down for several weeks, McCoy said.

"If we do discontinue the work at the Zanesville plant, it will only be temporary," McCoy explained. "Just as the layoffs are temporary."

McCoy said the company is "analyzing the situation at all our specialty plants."

Those plants include Zanesville, Coshocton, Butler, Pa., and Rockport, Ind. No employees have been laid off at the Coshocton plant at this time.

"We're running our plants as effectively as we can and looking at all possibilities," McCoy said. "We have looked at short schedules and layoffs. We are dealing with business conditions in a soft market right now. We have under-utilized equipment due to the market conditions at this time."

In February, the plant laid off less than 10 employees due to slack demand for some of the products from the Zanesville area, McCoy said.

During the next couple of weeks, McCoy said "a couple dozen more employees will be laid off."

Doug Pryor, the secretary and treasurer of the Zanesville Armco Independent Organization, the local union at the plant, said he was unsure exactly how many had been laid off or will be laid off in the future.

"They've not really told me much at this time, but we do know layoffs are coming and the plant may be shutting down for a couple of weeks in October," Pryor said. "What we'll do if that happens is go on unemployment and sub-pay (supplemental unemployment benefits)."

Pryor said he was told the layoffs were "due to orders being down."

Jim Dickson, president of the union, said he did not have a comment Friday afternoon, but would release a statement Monday.

While the plant in Coshocton has not experienced layoffs as yet, the company is looking at the plant closely, McCoy said.

AK Steel is headquartered in Middletown and it produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets as well as tubular steel products.



Originally published Saturday, September 6, 2003

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