More Layoffs Planned at East Chicago's LTV Plant as Sale Looms

Bankrupt LTV Corp. is laying off up most of the remaining 1,600 steel workers at its Indiana Harbor Works Plant in preparation for the plant's sale.

The company was expected to lay off 300 to 500 steel workers on Friday and another 600 to 800 on Saturday, leaving only a skeleton crew of 250 to 300 workers who will keep the plant warm for potential buyers.

"The company is shutting down and going out of business," LTV spokesman Mark Tomasch told The Times of Munster. "Many things are happening all over the company at once."

Tomasch confirmed the depth of the cuts, but told the newspaper that giving precise numbers or details was difficult.

Before November, LTV employed nearly 3,000 workers in East Chicago, which is located about 10 miles east of Chicago.

LTV, the nation's third-largest integrated steel company and producer of about 5 percent of the country's steel, won a judge's approval last week to stop steel production at mills in East Chicago, Cleveland and Hennepin, Ill.

The move affects about 7,500 workers altogether, 3,000 of whom are in East Chicago.

Meanwhile, the region's unemployment service prepared to handle LTV's second wave of applicants for unemployment benefits and job training.

About 1,300 workers were laid off last week, forcing Workforce Development Services to pull workers from three counties to run special intake sessions at union halls and community centers in East Chicago.

Beyond handling the applications for unemployment, the agency has also applied to the state for an additional $500,000 to $1 million to handle the long-term ramifications of the layoffs, Denise Dillard, agency executive director, said.

Dillard' office also plans to apply to the U.S. Department of Labor for a national emergency grant of $3 million to $5 million.

"This isn't just for the LTV workers but it would help all of those people affected by area steel layoffs and other business downturns," she said.