Steel Mills

ArcelorMittal Looking at Adjustments to Indiana Harbor Finishing Line Operations

Written by Sandy Williams

ArcelorMittal may be closing some finishing lines at Indiana Harbor according to comments by USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap.

Millsap said in an interview in the NWI Times that several lines may be closed, mostly in the East Chicago facility, with others receiving major investments to improve efficiency. By running fewer operations around the clock, money can be saved and layoffs can be avoided, said Millsap.

ArcelorMittal reported a net loss of nearly $8 billion in 2015 with $6.7 billion in losses in Q4 due in part from plummeting volumes and pricing at its NAFTA operations.

ArcelorMittal USA spokesperson Mary Beth Holdford said, “ArcelorMittal is considering all options for optimizing our assets in the United States. We are internally discussing the optimization of some operations – including those within Indiana Harbor, our largest integrated facility in the U.S. – as an indication of how we might reshape the business to become more competitive and sustainable for years to come. Additional details will be available after ratification of a new contract with the USW.”

Discussions about possible production adjustments have been part of the ongoing labor contract negotiations.

More than 13,000 ArcelorMittal USA employees have been working for the past five months under the terms and conditions of the previous contract which expired on Sept. 1, 2015.

In the latest update from the union, the negotiating committee was waiting to hear ArcelorMittal’s response to a proposal from the USW that it claims “would save the company millions of dollars in liability and legacy costs over the course of the contract.” Health care issues continue to slow progress at the bargaining table.

The Indiana Harbor complex covers 3100 acres and has five continuous casting machines, slab dimensioning facility, 80” and 84” hot strip mills, pickling line, five-stand tandem mill, batch annealing, continuous annealing, temper mill, two hot-dip galvanizing lines and one aluminizing line.

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