U.S. Steel announced Monday it is idling its tubular manufacturing plant in McKeesport in early August, affecting 157 union employees.
The Pittsburgh-based company says it is also halting operations at a similar facility in Bellville, Texas, impacting 45 management and 215 rank-and-file workers combined at the two plants.
"U.S. Steel remains fully committed to the tubular products business and to serving our tubular customers. While these are difficult decisions, they are necessary in order to return our company to sustainable profitability and position us for future growth. We will continue to fight unfair trade by foreign competitors who are creating a detrimental impact and threat to middle-class paying manufacturing jobs," said U. S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi in a statement.
U.S. Steel and other domestic producers have filed an action with the US Department of Commerce to stop unfair trading and dumping of foreign products into the American market.
United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard issued a statement indicating the union for months has warned about the threat posed by “illegally subsidized” oil country tubular goods. “The USW demands an immediate investigation into how a trade partner such as South Korea, which produces 100 percent of its steel tubular goods for export because it has no domestic market, has managed to conduct business here without regulation or any kind of fair tariff in place.”
In February 2014, the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration announced a preliminary ruling that imposed anti-dumping duties on eight countries that sell tubular products to the US. However, no such duties were imposed on South Korea, the largest exporter of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) to the U.S.
Gerard’s said the union would “continue fighting for a fair and level playing field so that American workers can get back to their rightful jobs as soon as possible.”
Tom Conway, USW Vice President says that if the government would have listened to them during their trips to the White House or meeting with the Department of Commerce, this factory could have been saved.
“Right now these folks lost their jobs and this community will be wiped out. There are homes and jobs and obligations, and it just doesn’t have to happen, and it shouldn’t be going on," said Conway.
With the shutdown of operations at the McKeesport and Bellville plants, U.S. Steel will have eight tubular manufacturing facilities employing about 2,900 workers.