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Economy & Business

Still no plan to resume steel production in Granite City

U.S. Steel continues to ramp up production at Granite City Works following an idling that lasted for a couple of years.
File photo | Davd Schaper|NPR

Tough market conditions continue to idle steel making  in Granite City. The chief executive officer of U.S. Steel says the company still does not have a timeline to restart production at the Metro East plant. Around 1,600 workers have been off the job since operations were idled roughly 10 months ago.

Now, the community is rallying to provide support.

An event is planned for Thursday night at Gateway Motorsports Park in Granite City. Organizers say it's an effort to raise money to help affected steelworkers and their families.

Unemployment benefits for many have run out. A bill calling on state lawmakers to extend benefits could be considered when members of the Illinois legislature gather this month in Springfield.

U.S. Steel C-E-O Mario Longhi addressed the Granite City shutdown Wednesday during a quarterly earnings conference call.

"We will bring it back on when we see that there is a better and much more stable market that requires that kind of capacity," he told analysts.

"We have plenty of flexibility on our melt side, so it's not that we have to get back and bring it back on."

A flood of cheaper, foreign steel into the U.S. is one reason for the shutdown. Tougher trade sanctions have helped deal with the problem, but domestic steel production is still trying to bounce back.

The Granite City plant also produces oil industry pipeline. That sector of the economy is also in a slowdown.

Follow Wayne Pratt on Twitter: @WayneRadio

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