Because steel imports are costing them jobs, workers at Bethlehem Steel Corp's Sparrow's Point plant in Baltimore are entitled to special federal aid, the Labor Department said yeaterday.
Sparrow's Point steelworkers were declared eligible for Trade Adjustemt Assistance, given to persons who lose their job because of foreign competition.
The Labor Department said a "very rough estimate" indicated 4,000 employees of the Baltimore steel mill might get the federal aid, including some who have not yet lost their jobs.
A Bethlehem Steel spokesman said only about 1,500 workers are on layoff now, and the plant's 17,500 member workfoce is down only about 2,000 workers from peak levels.
The Trade Adjustment aid gives workers up to 70 per cent of their gross weekly earning, a maximum of $208 a week including unemployment compensation. Most steelworkers would qualify for the maximum, the Labor Departmeent said.
Workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition can collect the aid for up to a year, and if they are over 60 when laid off, can get an extra 26 weeks of help.
Labor Department officals said if they are over 60 when laid off, can get an extra 26 weeks of help.
Labor Department officals said it will be about a month before any Baltimore workers start receiving benefits.
Those eligible are laid off workers involved in production of carbon steel plate, carbon steel rod, tin plate, hot and cold rolled sheet, galvanized sheet and wire - all products whose salcs have been hurt by imports.