US Steel plans to lay off 244 workers at its Gary Works steel mill when it idles its sheet metal plant there indefinitely, although it will move workers to other jobs at the plant.
Most sheet metal operations will be shut down, James Van Buren, senior director of U.S. Steel Labor and Employee Relations, wrote in a Worker Adjustment and Training Notice, or WARNING, in a notice to the Indiana Department of Labor.
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“These actions are due to market conditions that were beyond the Company’s control, including a continued decline in demand for the Company’s sheet metal products and a significant increase in tin mill imports,” he wrote.
The layoffs at the steel mill at 1 Broadway will take place on Feb. 26, 2023, “and may continue periodically as long as underlying market conditions persist,” US Steel said in a notice to the state Tuesday.
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The layoffs will affect 125 utility technicians, 51 utility technicians, 65 operations technicians and three senior operations technicians.
“Due to increased US tin mill imports, which are up 30% year-to-date, US Steel has given Gary Works employees advance notice that the layoffs will begin in 60 days,” spokeswoman Amanda Malkowski said. “Advance notice has been given under the Worker Adjustment and Training Notification Act to allow employees sufficient time to prepare for the transition. In addition, US Steel is working closely with the United Steelworkers to identify available placement opportunities for injured workers in open jobs. across the company.”
US Steel has already idled sheet line No. 5 at Gary Works, its flagship steel mill that stretches seven miles along the shores of Lake Michigan.
“Due to these market conditions, some of the Gary Works sheet metal has been idled for several months,” he said. US Steel also serves its Midwest mill sheet metal customers. This prior notice has no effect there.”
US Steel has been cutting back its sheet metal operations for years. It idled the East Chicago Tin Finishing Plant, 101 E. 129th St., indefinitely in 2019. The tin plant, which it acquired from LTV in 2000, once employed more than 360 people but has not reopened since.
Tin is used in cans for soup, fruit, vegetables, beans, chili, and other foods. Demand for cans is declining as many consumers gravitate more toward fresh produce in supermarkets and food manufacturers have adopted other forms of packaging, such as cardboard or plastic soup containers.
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