LORAIN — Almost a sixth of U.S. Steel’s Lorain operations will be laid off, effective Sunday.
United Steelworkers Local 1104 President Dennis Hamilton said 33 of the about 200 people left in the mill on East 28th Street will lose their jobs indefinitely.
“I’d say the people being laid off are half maintenance and half production,” Hamilton said. “It’s just confusing that they’d be making cuts right now, because nothing has changed in the market in the last several months.”
Hamilton said this was the first round of layoffs U.S. Steel has had in a while, with the last major layoffs occurring in 2015 with 600 workers.
The Lorain steel industry has had a rough year with the idling of the Republic mill in March that saw 200 people laid off.
Mayor Chase Ritenauer said layoffs like this are always difficult at the mills but especially as the holidays approach.
“Sadly, the local steel industry continues to have setbacks as it awaits recovery in demand,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the employees and the families affected by this round of layoffs especially at this time of the year.”
News of the layoffs came shortly after U.S Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi said on financial news network CNBC that 10,000 workers could be recalled back to mills after being asked about the domestic steel market outlook in light of the presidential election last month.
The company released a statement Thursday clarifying Longhi’s comments to say he wasn’t referring to U.S Steel, but instead to the domestic steel industry, which has seen 16,000 layoffs since January 2015.
American steel could take a further hit if the Water Infrastructure Investments for the Nation, or WIIN, Act, which is a bill authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to build and maintain water infrastructure such as dams and levees, doesn’t have a “buy America” clause.
According to a news release from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, the clause, which is typically included, gives preference to domestic steel companies for these construction projects. In the current version of the bill, it has been removed.
“I urge the (Republican) majority not to forget the promises your party made to these proud and strong American workers,” Kaptur said in the release. “I can assure you, they won’t forget, and we have to stand up to Chinese dumping that has put out of work thousands and thousands and thousands of workers across this country. Given the woes of the American steel industry, encouraging more offshoring is unconscionable.”
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- Layoffs continue at U.S. Steel in Lorain; job losses estimated around 33
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- Steelworkers Local 1104 stresses Clinton support