More than 1,000 former USX workers voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to accept a $47 million cash settlement plus benefits from USX to resolve the 1987 lawsuit filed against the steel company by 1,700 laid-off workers.

If all of the workers don't agree to accept the money, attorney Gerry Spence will walk away from the case, Spence told the workers crowded into the Mountain View High School gymnasium.USX insists each plaintiff sign off on the settlement, said Allen Young, one of the workers' attorneys. Spence and Young won't know for three or four days if each worker agrees to the settlement.

"We have to contact everyone that wasn't there last night," Young said.

Spence and Young sifted through the ballots late Wednesday night after the 41/2-hour meeting. "We didn't see any no votes," Young said. "If there are any, it would be less than 1 percent."

USX spokesman Wiliam Keslar couldn't be reached for comment.

USX offered to settle after U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins last month ruled against USX on benefits he believed the company owed to 23 bellwether plaintiffs that represent the varying circumstances of the 1,700 workers.

Jenkins' ruling would likely cost USX between $55 million and $66 million, Young said.

USX's settlement offer may be worth more, Young and Spence told the workers. Besides the $47 million, USX has offered to pay accruing pensions and benefits for most of the plaintiffs, including those who went to work for Geneva Steel.

"That would be worth between $5 million and $20 million," Young said.

Five or six managers who worked for USX until it closed and then didn't work for Geneva won't get benefits under USX's proposal, Young said.

If all the workers accept the settlement, USX will pay them $18 million within 40 days and an additional $29 million in six months, Young said. The benefits would begin accruing immediately.

Despite the big numbers, no one will get rich off this settlement. Young estimated that 90 percent of the workers would receive $26,500 immediately, with the right to apply for an additional $25,000 depending upon the facts of their case.

Workers won't see a third of the settlement. That goes to the lawyers. Spence, Young and Chicago attorney Jonah Orlofsky will divvy up the lion's share of the $15.6 million fee among them, with eight or nine other attorneys on the case getting smaller payments.

In addition to the $15.6 million cash payment, the attorneys also get one-third of the benefits the workers receive, Young said.

Jenkins shattered the workers' dreams of wealth three years ago when he ruled that they were only entitled to seven months of benefits, accruing from the time USX idled the plant in 1986 to the time it was sold to Joe Cannon.

Workers had asked for five years worth of wages and benefits, believing they would get hundreds of thousands of dollars, Young said.

In light of Jenkins' 1992 ruling, this settlement is "very generous," Young said.

The few employees who might reject the deal worry Spence and Young, but the men are serious about their threat to walk.

"Anyone who rejects this offer just isn't thinking right. But you have to realize not everybody is pleased with everything. If we can't convince them this is a wonderful proposal, maybe we shouldn't be their lawyers. Maybe they should go out and find others," Young said.