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BETHLEHEM DEFENDS LABOR CONTRACT

Bethlehem Steel Corp. Thursday defended its newly ratified labor contract against claims by Wall Street analysts and competitors that it's too generous and undermines industry efforts to control labor costs.

Bethlehem Chairman Walter F. Williams said the added costs of the 50-month contract can be offset by a modest increase of $18 per ton in steel prices over the next four years. Bethlehem's prices now average slightly more than $500 per ton, he said.

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