GRANITE CITY — The United States Steel Corp. announced on Nov. 23 that it will temporarily idle its Granite City Works steelmaking and finishing operations.
On Oct. 6, 2,000 employees at the plant were being issued notices under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act after U.S. Steel decided to consolidate its North American flat-roll operations.
“The company routinely adjusts production at its operating facilities to reflect market fluctuations,” the company said in a statement. “This is a result of continued challenging global market conditions including fluctuating oil prices, reduced rig counts and associated inventory overhang, depressed steel prices and unfairly traded imports, which continue to have a significant impact on the business. The company will be working closely with its customers through this transition. The company will continue to operate its steelmaking operations in Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania as well as some finishing operations in Alabama.”
Sarah Cassella, manager of external communications at U.S. Steel, said there is no timetable on how long the idling will last.
“We cannot speculate as to the duration at this time,” she said.
U.S. Steel announced that it lost $173 million in its third-quarter earnings. It’s the third losing quarter in a row and eighth since January 2013.
In March, U.S. Steel announced it would temporarily idle the plant and 2,080 workers would be laid off. But two months later, the corporation decided not to shut down the steel mill, resulting in more than 2,000 workers keeping their jobs. 80 workers were laid off.
Granite City Works, Granite City’s biggest employer, had 1,600 of its workers being laid off by U.S. Steel when the plant was idled for about seven months in 2009. U.S. Steel, which has its corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, also has steelmaking operations in Birmingham, Ala.; Braddock, Pa.; Gary, Ind.; and Ecorse/River Rouge, Mich.