Burdened by slumps in its two main businesses--oil and steel--U.S. Steel plans to lay off between 1,200 and 1,800 salaried employees at its Pittsburgh headquarters and at steel division offices nationwide by the end of the year, company officials said Tuesday.
Additional management cutbacks are also under way at its two newly acquired oil units--Marathon Oil and Texas Oil & Gas, officials added.
Despite a series of severe cost-cutting moves that have included reductions in white-collar employment from 30,400 in 1982 to 12,400 this year, the nation's biggest steelmaker remains mired in losses because of depressed prices for both oil and steel.
Last month, U.S. Steel reported a first-quarter net loss of $249 million, compared to a profit of $185 million for the same period in 1985.
Meeting With Union
It is those losses that have forced the company to pare back the ranks of its remaining salaried workers by another 10% to 15% over the next few months, according to U.S. Steel Chairman David Roderick.
Separately, company and union officials said Tuesday that Roderick has met privately with Lynn Williams, president of the United Steelworkers, in preparation for the June 1 start of labor negotiations at U.S. Steel. The company's labor contract expires July 31, and it is the only major steelmaker that has not opened union talks early.
Financially troubled LTV Corp. and National Steel have already won labor cost savings from the union, and Roderick has repeatedly insisted that U.S. Steel should receive a similar break. But the union, arguing that U.S. Steel is the strongest company in the industry, has rejected such demands.
A company spokesman said Roderick released financial data on U.S. Steel to the union for the first time, showing that the company has lost a combined $2.37 billion on a pretax basis in its steel operations since 1980. But union officials said the disclosure of the data did not qualify as a sincere effort by U.S. Steel to "open its books" to the union.