Metro-East News

U.S. Steel CEO gives workers hope they soon will return to mills

U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi, left, waits to speak on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 14, 2016, during a hearing on the state of the U.S. steel industry. Longhi on Wednesday said he hopes to be able to recall laid-off steel workers soon.
U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi, left, waits to speak on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 14, 2016, during a hearing on the state of the U.S. steel industry. Longhi on Wednesday said he hopes to be able to recall laid-off steel workers soon. AP

U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi has given some laid off steel mill workers a glimmer of hope that they might be back to work soon, nearly a year after they were sidelined.

In an appearance on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” Wednesday, Longhi said that U.S. Steel would like to accelerate its investments and hire back laid-off employees in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

“I’d be more than happy to bring back the employees we’ve been forced to lay off during that depressive period,” Longhi said.

Approximately 2,300 of the 10,000 laid-off U.S. Steel workers are based at the Granite City mill. Those workers were given a boost last week when Illinois legislators passed a bill that would extend their unemployment benefits. Longhi made no specific reference to Granite City’s plant in his recent remarks nor did he give a timeline for when people would be rehired.

U.S. Steel felt a need to clarify Longhi’s comments after his CNBC appearance.

“Mr. Longhi’s comments about potentially recalling some 10,000 workers was referring to the American steel industry overall, not just to employees of United States Steel Corporation,” the company said in a news release. “The domestic steel industry has been forced to lay off more than 16,000 people (per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) since January 2015 due to steel products illegally dumped on U.S. shores. Layoffs at United States Steel have contributed to the total of 16,000.”

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