Sparrows Point retirees

The Sparrows Point steel mill complex. (Baltimore Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor / August 8, 2012)

Some of the Sparrows Point steelworkers who took their employer up on an offer to retire in August and get a $10,000 bonus have been told they won't receive the money after all, their union says.

Joe Rosel, president of the United Steelworkers Local 9477, said Wednesday that between 100 to 200 workers retired last month with the understanding that they were eligible for the bonus. Some — he couldn't say how many — have since been told they retired too late to get it.

"A lot of people came back and … rescinded their retirement if they didn't get the $10,000," Rosel said. "The company now is going to say they didn't guarantee it. … But they certainly did give people the impression that they were going to get it."

Steel mill owner RG Steel, which filed for bankruptcy in May and is in the final stages of selling major assets, could not offer details. An employee answering the phone in the administration offices said Wednesday that "virtually everybody" had been laid off and that no one was left to respond to questions about the bonuses.

Sparrows Point was auctioned off to a redevelopment firm working with a liquidation company, a deal that could close at the end of the week. Mill employees are hoping the companies will resell the complex to a steelmaker, putting them back to work. Those rescinding their recent retirement want a crack at that possibility.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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