By Joe Pinchot
The Greenville division of Marcegaglia USA Inc., the former Damascus Tube Plant in Reynolds, will be closing Dec. 31.
Paul LaMonte, United Steel Workers Local 3713-4 unit chairman, said employees received notice of the closing Friday.
"It's been coming for some time," said LaMonte, who works in maintenance. "They've been steadily taking equipment out of the plant and moving it to Pittsburgh."
The company has a plant in Munhall.
Company management officials could not be reached for comment.
The Reynolds plant has 42 employees working, and 84 laid off.
While most of the employees currently working have at least 30 years of service, only about two are eligible for retirement, LaMonte said.
Union officials will be meeting with the company next week to discuss a severance package, he said.
Marcegaglia, an Italian company, bought Damascus from Sharon Steel Corp. in 1993, when Sharon Steel was in bankruptcy.
LaMonte said that the market for stainless steel pipe and tube has fallen somewhat, but he believes the biggest problem the company has had is in trying to force European strategies on the American market.
"They were never able to adapt to that," he said.
The company has sacrificed product quality for quantity produced, LaMonte added.
"We've gone from a position where we were top 10 in the market to where those practices dropped us to 25th," he said of sales and quality.
"It's a little disheartening to the employees to see a very competitive stainless steel pipe and tubing plant basically torn down by management tactics that did not fit the American market. We, as employees, tried to express these thoughts but they wouldn't listen to us."
The Reynolds plant was marked for expansion on at least two occasions, but both fell through, most notably when the company expanded the Munhall plant.
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