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Economy and Business

Timken Steelworkers side with management in fighting a split
Activist shareholders says bearings and steel should be separate businesses

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M.L. Schultze
Courtesy of Timken Company
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In The Region:

The United Steelworkers and Timken Company have had significant differences since the union organized at the Canton company 77 years ago. But as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, the two have united when it comes to a proposal to split Timken in two.

SCHULTZE: The battle over Timken's split

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Shareholders of the Canton-based bearing and steelmaker will vote in a couple of weeks on plans to divide Timken’s two divisions into separate companies.

The activist group known as Relational Investors and the California State Teachers Retirement System control about 7 percent of Timken’s stock. They say the stock value has been depressed, and that the two markets – steel and bearings – are different enough that they should be served by two companies.

But opponents of the split maintain that Timken’s two divisions have served each other well because one – steel – rides big economic ebbs and flows while the other – bearings – is steady.

The union has come down on the side of the opponents. Tony Montana is spokesman for the USW national in Pittsburgh.

“Timken has a long history of success in its present form providing employment and value to shareholders. We believe that changing the corporate structure as proposed will undermine both.”

The union represents some 2,300 Timken steelworkers in the Canton area. The company has about $5 billion in annual sales and is investing some $225 million to upgrade its Faircrest steel mill southwest of Canton.

USW Local 1123 President Joe Hoagland on steel's wilder ride:

UAW 1123 President Joe Hoagland on steel and bearing
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