US Steel to lay off 390 more in Granite City
Editor's Note: This story was originally published Feburary 18, 2019
By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – United States Steel has confirmed that it plans to lay off additional workers at its facility in Granite City.
The 390 union and non-union employees work at the Granite City coke furnace. Slumping demand for steel has forced US Steel to store the coke on the factory grounds - it is temporarily shutting down the furnace to balance supply and demand.
The layoffs include 250 members of the United Steelworkers union, said Dave Dowling, the director of the union's Sub District 2. He has no idea when any of them will go back to work.
"The restart of the plant is totally dependent on the rebound of the economy, and I don't think anyone has a clue when that might occur," he said.
The latest layoffs mean that 1900 of the 2000 unionized employees at the Granite City facility will be out of work.
"It's another body blow to the community at large," Dowling said. "I mean, we've been taking blow after blow in that community and this will have another devastating effect."
US Steel is required by the union contract to temporarily pay health care benefits after a layoff. Dowling says some of his members will start losing health care in May or June.
The layoffs do not affect the construction of a new coke furnace near the US Steel facility to be operated by SunCoke Energy. Construction started on that project in May.