Job Cuts Announced for A.K. Steel

Web Producer: Brad Maglinger

The letter was straightforward and to the point. It was sent out to all A.K. Steel salaried employees warning that 20 percent of all jobs nationally would be eliminated. The reason for the job cuts, a net loss of more than $277 million in this third quarter alone.

The first line really says it all, "I believe in direct and honest communication. A.K. Steel needs to change, and change quickly, in order to return to a sustainable level of profitability."

Here's how it breaks down. All 20 percent will be salaried, that's about 475 jobs nationwide, about roughly 20-30 jobs in Rockport. But Alan McCoy, vice president of public affairs says, it could be more or it could be less, because the job cuts may not be spread out nationwide.

There are seven plants across the country, and certain plants may have more terminations than others. McCoy says their cutting certain positions, and it has nothing to do with employee seniority.

"Each plant and each function within the plant have looked at their specific operations or staff functions that determine what work can be consolidated or what work can be eliminated," states McCoy.

While workers received letters, no one received specific word as to which jobs will be cut. McCoy says employees will receive that news as early as next week. "Every employee whose job is being affected will have a personal meeting, and we'll discuss the applicable severance benefits and out placement assistance."

McCoy won't specify on how much notice those employees will receive.

It's a surprising change considering it was just in November 1996 the announcement came that A.K. Steel was coming to Rockport.

"It's unfortunate," McCoy says. "It's the last thing we want to do because our employees are our greatest asset. They have helped lead this company to a great list of accomplishments and we think we can return to those high marks but we have to do it more efficiently and unfortunately it means today that we've got to trim some of the employment costs."