A Union leader said steel workers who will lose their jobs with the closing of the American National Can Co. at Sparrows Point can take some comfort in a generous severance package and pension benefits.
"It's one of the best you can get," Clarence Turner, president of United Steelworkers Local 6660 said of the package.
In addition to unemployment benefits, workers will get supplemental pay for the next two years, he said. Most of the workers also will be eligible for pension benefits.
Workers at the plant have an average of 26 years seniority.
"There is no bitterness," he said. "It's just another one of those things."
The company announced Monday that it will close the plant by the end of the year, costing the jobs of 280 workers.
But Dorothy Berry, secretary of Local 6660, said many of the affected workers were already laid off and that only about 105 union workers and 40 management employees remain working at the plant.
American National, a subsidiary of the French aluminum and packaging manufacturer Pechiney S.A., said it is closing its plant in Baltimore and a can-making plant in Regency, N.J. due to "non-competitive labor costs."
Company spokeswoman Carol A. Constantine said that workers are receiving up to $12 an hour more in wages and benefits than workers at competitive companies.
In addition, she said, the plants were not profitable enough to warrant the capital investments needed to keep them open.
The company is pursuing the sale of the plants to interested buyers, but Constantine said that it is unlike ly that a sale would mean that workers would be able to keep their jobs.