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A Soft Steel Market Takes Its Toll On Ohio Employment

Rona Proudfoot
Flickr Creative Commons
As many as 600 workers at U.S. Steel in Loraine, Ohio could be laid off next week

The United Steelworkers union is awaiting word this week on exactly how many hundreds of people will be at least temporarily laid off in Lorain. U.S. Steel plans to shut down its Lorain tubular operations and lay off as many as 600 workers next week. It’s a drastic change from three years ago, when it seemed like projections for making steel tube couldn’t go high enough.

Patrick Gallagher, whose United Steelworkers district covers all of northern Ohio, says a soft oil-drilling market, strong dollar and ongoing battle over imports has changed a lot.

“The South Koreans especially decided they’re just going to buy their way over the tariffs and duties. Because the dollar is so strong it gives them an increased incentive to do that. They make up money right on the exchange rate.”

TimkenSteel also announced last week it’s laying off about 50 people.  Gallagher says the auto industry is the one bright spot for the steel industry and that Congress passing a significant bill to rebuild road and bridges would also make a difference.