U.S. Steel Corp. will temporarily lay off all 2,080 employees at its Granite City steel plant as the company battles tough market conditions.
The Pittsburgh-based steel company announced the move Monday afternoon and notified steel workers at the metro-east steel mill. U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone said the company has not determined when the temporary closure will occur and for how long employees will be laid off.
“We need to move orderly through the transitional idling process,” Boone said. “It is based on market conditions and it would not be prudent for us to speculate the length of the idling.”
Steel workers at the company’s Granite City Works were initially notified of a potential temporary closure earlier last month, as demand for the flat-rolled tubular steel manufactured at the Granite City plant has been declining.
Boone said market conditions continue to affect operations at Granite City Works, which is forcing U.S. Steel to temporarily consolidate its operations and temporarily close the metro-east mill.
“I think it’s really important to understand that this is truly related to a number of market conditions affecting the steel industry, where the oil and gas prices continue to stay low and Granite City Works serves those in that market,” Boone said. “In addition to that, there continues to be a glut of imported goods that challenge the overall industry. A number of those goods, we believe, are unfairly traded, and shows an un-level playing field with subsidized steel coming in from other countries. When you add each additional market condition, it makes for a challenging environment.”
Local union leaders from the United Steelworkers could not immediately be reached for comment following the announcement on Monday afternoon.
The announcement comes just months after U.S. Steel scuttled a recent plan to temporarily close the Granite City plant and idle workers in May. Instead, the company opted to lay off 80 workers and reduce the plant to one shift.
The announcement also comes as U.S. Steel employees in Granite City and across the country continue to negotiate for a new contract. The company’s steel workers have been working without a contract since September.