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Declining patronage leads US Steel to lay off 636 workers

Declining patronage leads US Steel to lay off 636 workers

In an effort to deal with low gas prices and declining patronage of its tubular goods for exploration projects, the United States Steel is laying off 636 workers from its Lorain Tubular Operations starting from March 8 through to May.

This development was made known by the US Steel through a letter addressed to Leo Gerard, president of United Steel Workers in Pittsburgh. This action is a result of a decline in tubular market conditions, which is impacting demand for the plant s products, part of the letter read.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act mandates the company to publish such a notification; and this was published online by the US Steel Workers Local 1104 of Lorain, with a copy sent to Mayor Chase Ritenauer.

The proposed layoff affects 277 operating technicians, 172 utility technicians, 73 electrical maintenance technicians, 57 mechanical maintenance technicians and 40 utility workers this list was included in the WARN Act notice.

According to Tom McDermott, president of the USW Local 1104, The company has suddenly lost a great deal of business because of the recent downturn in the oil industry. What appeared just a few short weeks ago as being a productive year, (with new hires in December and extra turns going on), has most abruptly turned sour.

Mayor Ritenauer understands that the low prices of oil, even at the gas pumps, is driving this initiative; and he stated he hopes market conditions should improve with the layoff getting shorter than expected. According to him, he prays the US Steel remains committed to making Lorain a hub of its steel production.

It s upsetting to the families, it s upsetting to the employees, it s upsetting to what U.S. Steel is trying to do, Ritenauer said, noting that But they re at the mercy of the global economy. We don t have any control over this. This is way above Lorain, Ohio. This is way above U.S. Steel corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Although this proposed layoff will cause lower income tax generation for the city s 2015 budget, Ritenauer is of the opinion that he might scale back on city projects, leave open positions unfilled, and not replace leaving workers, in order to balance the city s budget as a result of the layoff. Ultimately the hope is that this is a cycle, we get through this cycle, U.S. Steel is back up and running, he said. Even Lorain is susceptible to volatility in the global economy.

The US Steel provides living-wage jobs for people resident within Lorain and its surrounding areas, and its Lorain Tubular Operations had become a 21st century Midwest industrial celebrity in recent years. The plant makes tubular goods used in exploring and drilling for oil and natural gas within the country.

Declining patronage leads US Steel to lay off 636 workers

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