The Crusader Newspaper Group

U.S. Steel warns of massive layoffs

Sends notice of plant closing

By Giavonni Nickson

Job loss will soon commence for U.S. Steel Corp. employees at the tin facility in East Chicago. Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. provided more details in a letter to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s dislocated worker’s unit regarding the previously-announced shutdown of its East Chicago tin plant.

The issued notification letter to the state meets government requirements under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). WARN is a U.S. labor law that mandates employers with 100 or more employees to provide a 60-day warning of massive layoffs or plant closings.

According to U.S. Steel, the planned action to indefinitely idle the tin facility will result in employment loss set to commence November 9, 2019 and will continue periodically through the end of December.

All units, divisions, and departments from the East Chicago Tin Facility will be affected.

The current expectation is that less than 150 employees will lose jobs, however, the exact numbers are still subject to discussions with the United Steelworkers. These updates are considered to be the best information available at this time based upon current business circumstances.

U.S. Steel currently has approximately 5,700 employees across three northwest Indiana facilities, with most of their employees at the Gary Works location.

East Chicago Tin, produces tin plate, black plate, tin-free steel and coated sheet products that primarily serve the container market for the manufacture of cans, ends and closures for the food and beverage industry and employs approximately 300 workers.

When job cuts were first announced in August, the company said it planned to offer about half of the 300 workers at the tin mill jobs at other sites in northwest Indiana’s Gary Works location or the Midwest Plant in Portage.

U.S. Steel Corp says the indefinite idling of operations at its East Chicago Tin facility is due to the consolidation of U.S. Steel’s tin mill product production from three to two facilities following extensive market analysis of current global competitiveness in light of high levels of low-priced imported tin mill products entering the United States. The demand for tin has been marked with consistent decline as consumers across the country move away from canned goods toward fresh foods. High costs due to steel tariffs and an ongoing decline in canned food sales are reasons many steel manufacturers are cutting jobs.

U.S. Steel reports identify the titles of the positions and number of employees who may be affected by the indefinite idling.

Position Title        No. of Employees

Quality Assurance Engineer    2

Quality Assurance Manager     1

Area Manager   2

Process Manager     5

Shift Manager Operations 8

Shift Manager Maintenance     2

Manager Operations Excellence 1

Specialist Operations Excellence 1

Maintenance Technician   78

Operating Technician I   29

Operating Technician II  16

Senior Operating Technician   4

Utility Person 53

Utility Technician    98

Clerical II    1

Analytical/Technical I   1

The company also said in the letter to the state the Tin facility will be idled for an indefinite period, but the company does not expect it to be a permanent shutdown.

Giavonni is a passionate freelance writer native of Gary IN. She covers business, politics, and community schools for the Chicago/Gary Crusader.

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