U.S. Steel announced its plans to sell two blast furnaces at its Granite City facility. Therefore, the decision may put 1,000 jobs at Granite Steel in jeopardy. U.S. Steel is set to make changes to their Illinois operations that would result in job losses for the state.

Union’s stance on company’s strategy

The company is planning to switch to a different type of production for something called pig iron. Although, the company is claiming that the transition will not impact immediate staffing levels at Granite City Steel. The company plans to lay-off 950 employees over the period of next two years. However, despite company’s claims the union is already active in their push to save the jobs and is considering this scheme as betrayal of local jobs. “The announced potential agreement could cause the permanent shut down of the steel making and finishing operations at the granite city works. The result would be the permanent loss of close to one thousand jobs at ‘the mill.’” The union said in a statement expressing their stance.

Coronavirus impact on Madison County

Job losses at the plant will come as the area is still struggling to regain jobs lost to the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-downs. Moreover, Madison County is lagging by over 5,600 jobs in comparison to pre-pandemic levels. Hence, in case the Madison County lose all 1,000 jobs, there will be an employment lag of about 6,600 jobs. This constitutes to exact 5% of jobs since May 2019. Just a few years ago, former President Donald Trump visited the Granite steel plant. The purpose of the visit was to celebrate bringing back hundreds of workers after an announcement of additional tariffs on imported steel. Trump signaled imposition of 25% tax on imported steel and U.S. Steel considered it a great opportunity to capitalize.

The 121-year-old steel company is planning to sell its blast furnaces to SunCoke Energy Inc. SunCoke Energy will start producing their own pig iron as early as 2024 to sell to U.S. Steel’s factories in other states.

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