Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

As I mentioned in a recent newsletter, comments received from our readers will many times lead to an article, or even a series of articles. One of our goals is to dig into topics of interest to our readers from as many angles as possible, and then allow you to make your own conclusions.

For those of you new to Steel Market Update and our newsletter, this section of the newsletter, my Final Thoughts, is an area where I provide my point of view. The subject matter could be related to an issue of consequence for the market or it could be as mundane as when our next Steel 101 workshop is going to be held.

One area of concern to the market is the status of the U.S. Steel negotiations. Unfortunately, I don’t have a mole inside either the mill or union negotiating team. Even so, as I mentioned last week, President Trump did not do USS or ArcelorMittal USA any favors with the Section 232 tariffs. At least not when it comes to negotiating a new union contract. The workers expect to share in the surprise booty the mills are enjoying. The unions also remember last year’s tax relief package for corporations. The president specifically touted it as a way of rewarding workers with more money…

A while back I asked one of the financial analysts if U.S. Steel would benefit from the tax bill of 2017. I was told they would have to make money and owe taxes before they would collect any benefit. Tell that to a worker who hasn’t gotten a salary increase over the past three years.

It is in no one’s best interest to go on strike. Even so, the union’s patience is probably wearing thin, and this is the last week of the month of September. Is Oct. 1 a target one should watch to see if the union has a contract? Is that long enough for the union to wait before they consider walking out? I would like to know what you are hearing and what you think on the topic? You can send me your thoughts at

As many of you are aware, I am traveling extensively over the next four weeks. I am currently in Minnesota and will be headed for Pittsburgh on Monday evening. I will be visiting CRU’s offices in Pittsburgh before heading back to my office in Florida. I will be in my office on Thursday and Friday before heading back on the road to attend the CRU North American Steel Conference in Chicago on Oct. 1-3. I can be reached by email or on my cell phone during my absence.

Dog on plane 9.23.2018I have been on many flights in my life, but the seat companion I had this morning was the cutest and probably the best behaved (see photo).

I will throw in a plug for our next Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals workshop, which will be held in Toledo, Ohio, on Dec. 11-12 of this year. Included will be a tour of the North Star BlueScope “mini” mill. If you don’t know what a “mini” mill is, then you definitely will want to attend this workshop. We have a new instructor participating in this workshop. Roger Walburn of NLMK USA will be giving Peter Wright some time off. We will tweak the workshop a bit to fit Roger’s background, but he has a lot of teaching experience. You can find out more about the workshop, costs and how to register at

After Toledo, we will conduct a Steel 101 workshop in Columbus, Miss., at the end of February 2019.

Of course, for those of you who haven’t put our 2019 SMU Steel Summit Conference in your budget, please mark your calendars. The dates will be Aug. 26-28.

As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, President & CEO

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