Local Family Hurt By LTV's Decision

CLEVELAND – More than 3,000 workers in northeast Ohio will lose their jobs if LTV Steel shuts down, but that figure represents much more than just a number. Each one stands for a family that will likely face hardships if LTV gets out of the steel business, 19/43 News' Harry Boomer reported.

"I just heard last night, and I couldn't sleep all night," Robert Tucholski said.

Tucholski retired from LTV in August, after 28 years with the company. He said that he is worried about how the company's closing will affect him and his wife of 13 years, Elizabeth.

"My doctor said that I have gallstones, and that they are going to take out my gallbladder," Elizabeth said.

The timing couldn't be worse for the Tucholski family. Elizabeth's surgery is at least two weeks away, and LTV might go out of business before then.

"If we lose our benefits, I've got to pay for the surgery, and I don't have the money," Robert said.

Elizabeth has had cancer operations, as well as a heart condition, and just last week, she was rushed to the emergency room. Their insurance paid for the $1,750 bill.

"That's just for emergency," Robert said. "If we have to pay for her surgery, that will would kill us. That would wipe us out."

"I'm scared because I know I need this surgery, and I'm scared we're not going to have the money to do it," Elizabeth said. "Plus, he just bought me a new car last week."

Robert and Elizabeth have raised their children, and they had looked forward to a long life together. All of their dreams are now in jeopardy.

"Without benefits, I don't have anything," Robert said. "We don't have anything. She could die, and then what? I might as well die too."

Robert and Elizabeth, like many other local LTV families, don't know what they'll do if the company ceases to exist as we know it. The verdict on LTV's future could come in less than two weeks.