PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Bethlehem Steel Corp. said Thursday that as many as 4,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of International Steel Group's buyout of the bankrupt company.
Robert S. Miller, Bethlehem chairman and chief executive, told employees Wednesday that 3,000 to 4,000 jobs will be cut. The higher figure amounts to 36 percent of Bethlehem's work force of 11,000.
It is believed to be the first estimate on job cuts that Miller has given to employees.
Cleveland-based International Steel Group's board on Saturday voted to buy Bethlehem Steel for $1.5 billion. The Bethlehem, Pa.-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2001.
ISG chairman Wilbur L. Ross _ who specializes in buying distressed businesses _ has said ISG would set aside $100 million for buyout offers to salaried and hourly employees.
On Friday, Bethlehem Steel said it planned to terminate the health benefits of retirees.
Adding Bethlehem Steel's plants would make ISG the largest U.S. steelmaker, with an annual production capacity of 16 million tons.
The buyout deal would keep Bethlehem Steel's Burns Harbor Division in Indiana, Sparrows Point Division near Baltimore and smaller plants in Lackawanna, N.Y., and Coatesville and Conshohocken, Pa., operating.
The company's rusting mill along the Lehigh River in Bethlehem, 50 miles north of Philadelphia, has been shut down since 1995. Only about 300 administrative employees remain at the company's headquarters.