U.S. Steel plans to indefinitely reduce operations of the pickle line, cold mill and finishing division at Great Lakes Works in Ecorse, Mich. The action is separate from the indefinite idling of ironmaking, steelmaking and hot strip rolling mill facilities announced in December 2019.
The company said in a June 8 letter to the Michigan Department of Labor:
“Due to weak business conditions resulting from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Pickle Line, the Cold Mill, and the Finishing Division have been operating intermittently, causing layoffs and/or reduction in hours of work for some employees in these areas beginning May 3. As previously communicated to employees and union representatives, these employment impacts were expected to be of short durations (i.e., less than six months). However, due to continued weak demand for the products made in these facilities resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and new uncertainties about when orders for such products will improve, which was not reasonably foreseeable when the layoffs commenced, it is now anticipated that these employment impacts, and future impacts in these areas, could exceed six months in duration. Additional employment losses associated with the planned action are expected to continue periodically while the underlying business conditions last.”
The decision to further reduce production affects 220 employees in addition to 559 that were issued WARN notices in December.
In an update of its Dec. 19 advisory, U.S. Steel also said the hot strip mill rolling facility at Great Lakes is expected to complete operations and begin its indefinite idling on June 27, 2020.
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