Steel Mills

Granite City Shift From Steel to Pig to Cost ~950 Jobs in '24: USS

Written by Michael Cowden

Approximately 950 jobs could be lost at US Steel’s Granite City Works near St. Louis once the mill stops making steel, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker currently employs approximately 1,500 people at the mill. There would be an estimated 550 employees when the shift to pig iron production happens in 2024.

US Steel“There is no immediate job loss. This would not occur for two years,” she said.

US Steel announced on Tuesday that it planned to stop making steel at Granite City in the second half of 2024. That outcome is the result of a deal that would see ownership of the mill’s blast furnaces switch to SunCoke Energy Inc., which would retool them to make pig iron.

The company would then have rights for the next decade to use all of that pig iron to feed its growing number of electric arc furnaces (EAFs), notably at its Big River Steel Works in Arkansas – which is in the process of becoming a mega-mill with annual capacity of 6.3 million tons per year.

US Steel would continue to own and operate Granite City’s galvanizing and Galvalume operations. But it would shut the plant’s steelmaking operations, hot strip mill and other finishing facilities.

While the job losses won’t happen until 2024, the United Steelworkers (USW) union  said US Steel’s investments in non-union facilities such as Big River would impact contract negotiations this summer.

Most of US Steel’s mills are represented by the USW. The company’s contract with the union expires on Sept. 1.

Granite City had become a posterchild among the USW and former President Donald Trump, who visited the mill, as evidence of the success of Section 232 tariffs, which the Trump administration rolled out in 2018.

Dan Simmons, president of USW Local 1899, said last year that the 25% national security tariffs resulted in the mill coming back to life after being left largely idle for nearly two and a half years. “It helped us get the door back open again,” he said.

US Steel has two furnaces at Granite City: “A” and “B.” The company announced in late March 2020, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, that it would temporarily idle the “A” furnace. It has remained idled since. 

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

Read more from Michael Cowden

Latest in Steel Mills