After revealing plans to let go of up to 200 workers at its Great Lakes facility in Michigan, US Steel announced on Friday that it will idle a plant in East Chicago in Indiana by mid-November as part of the consolidation of its till mill operations in the United States, a move which could result in lay offs for nearly 150 employees. The steelmaker blamed high levels of low-priced imports for its decision to consolidate work at East Chicago Tin facility into the ones at Gary Works and the Midwest Plant in Northwest Indiana. US Steel said “Following extensive market analysis of our global competitiveness in light of high levels of low-priced imported tin mill products entering the United States, we have decided to consolidate our current tin mill products production from three to two facilities, idling our East Chicago, Indiana, facility by mid-November 2019. Our goal is to place as many East Chicago Tin employees as possible at other nearby US Steel facilities.”
US Steel said “We have made significant asset revitalization investments in our tin mill production capabilities at our Gary Works and Midwest Plant that have yielded notable quality and delivery improvements, increasing our first-time prime yield and capacity at these facilities. We will be working closely with our customers to ensure a smooth transition during this process. A significant contributor to the company’s decision to idle the mill is low tin mill capacity utilization as a result of continued high levels of low-priced imports, which have captured roughly half of the US tin mill products market. These import levels make operating a three-facility footprint like ours unsustainable under current market conditions.”
The East Chicago facility currently employs 297 workers and the company expects to offer about half of the East Chicago tin mill’s employees at the company’s Gary Works and Midwest Plant in northwest Indiana. Exact numbers have not been finalized and are subject to discussions with the United Steelworkers union
Earlier last week, ArcelorMittal USA, also citing challenging conditions in the US domestic tin mill market, had said it was laying off approximately 100 employees at its tin mill in Weirton, West Virginia.