US Steel idles Granite City furnace after UAW strike

GRANITE CITY, Ill. — US Steel is blaming the United Autoworker’s strike for a decrease in demand. They are idling operations at one of the blast furnaces at the Granite City Works until market conditions improve.

The United Steelworker’s Union says that they will be meeting with the company to minimize layoffs through their contract. The idled furnace is the primary operation at the Granite City location.

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The auto workers’ strike against Detroit’s Big Three is now in its fourth day. There were no signs Monday of an early breakthrough that might end the strike, and the United Auto Workers have threatened to escalate their walkout against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

President Joe Biden is sending his acting Labor secretary and another top aide to Detroit early this week to see what they can do to bring the two sides together. An administration official says acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and senior aide Gene Sperling won’t be mediators — they won’t be at the bargaining table — but will try to help in any way that the union and the companies think is constructive.

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Statement from US Steel:

Following the announcement of UAW strike actions, we are executing our risk mitigation plan to ensure our melt capacity is balanced with our order book. As a result, we have decided to temporarily idle blast furnace ‘B’ at Granite City Works and are reallocating volumes as needed to other domestic facilities to efficiently meet customer demand.

We thank our employees for working to ensure the temporary idling of the furnace will be conducted safely and efficiently. We do not take these decisions lightly and will continue to monitor and assess market conditions.

Statement from United Steelworkers Local 1899:

The Local was informed earlier this morning about the company’s decision to temporarily idle the B furnace at Granite City, specifically the primary operation! The company is claiming this decision is due to a combination of order book softening throughout the corporation, specifically in the auto industry. We will be meeting with the Company to
put together a layoff minimization plan per the contract. We will keep you informed as this all unfolds.

Category: General News