Video Vault: Cleveland's LTV Steel declares bankruptcy July 1986

CLEVELAND - On July 17, 1986 LTV sneezed and Cleveland caught a cold.

It was no secret how much the steel industry meant to Cleveland in its development. The city and its steel industry grew up together.

The announcement of LTV’s bankruptcy filing in 1986, while not a total shock, was still a punch to the gut.

LTV was more than steel, but its steel operations were losing money and were facing a growing tide of foreign producers and imports.

I’ve posted the first 11 minutes of the WEWS 6 p.m. newscast from the day of the bankruptcy.

Ted Henry sets the scene and throws to Alan DePetro. DePetro reports from the west side of the industrial Flats.

Over his shoulder is part of the LTV complex. If you're searching for a clue as to the fate of steel in Cleveland, here in 2014, that west side complex in now home to the Steelyard Commons shopping center.

DePetro chronicles the debt LTV has from its energy and steel divisions. He says LTV steel lost $1 billion over the previous four years.

He focuses on low demand for steel plus a glut of worldwide production and slipping prices for steel products.

He tells us 24,000 people work for LTV steel plants in Buffalo, N.Y. and western Penn., but most in Ohio.

In DePetro’s live shot tag to his story, he says some local banks were putting holds on LTV paychecks. The bankruptcy judge in New York issued an order putting a stop to that.

Next up WEWS reporter Steve Craig gives a historical look at how Cleveland became such a huge player in the steel industry.

Craig details the rise of iron and steel and the immigrant populations that came to northeast Ohio for the jobs.

He says steel production in the U.S. reached its peak in the late 70s.

In Craig’s live shot from the Flats, he says 70 people worked for an iron furnace company on that site in 1836 but in 1980 the United Steel Workers of America district 28 had 49,000 members.

WEWS reporter Jack Marschall’s story is next. His story focuses on LTV employees and the givebacks and layoffs they recently suffered. He interviews a steel worker, local union representative Frank Valenta plus a retiree living on an LTV pension.

Marschall says there are 60,000 retirees drawing LTV pensions. DePetro told us there were 24,000 active employees.

The last of four WEWS reporters doing LTV-related stories in the first segment of the newscast is Bill Younkin.

Younkin reports on the lessening impact the steel industry has on Cleveland’s economy.

As he finishes his story, he points out one glaring fact in the city’s changing from a manufacturing workforce to a service industry workforce: the new jobs don’t pay anywhere close to the steel/manufacturing jobs

LTV came out of bankruptcy in 1993. It profited for a while but some the same woes hit steel again and in 2000, LTV Steel filed for bankruptcy. It didn’t survive.

ISG bought some of LTV properties, and would later merge with Mittal Steel.

ArcelorMittal is now Cleveland’s steel company. Its Cleveland operations are some of its biggest holdings in the world.

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