U.S. Steel announced that more than 1,500 American workers will be laid off as the company plans to effectively idle a plant near Detroit, Michigan.
In two announcements this week, U.S. Steel executives said about 1,545 workers at their Great Lakes Works plant in Ecorse, Michigan, would be affected by plans to idle the plant.
Executives wrote in a statement:
U.S. Steel intends to indefinitely idle a significant portion of its Great Lakes Works operation near Detroit, Michigan. The company expects to begin idling the iron and steelmaking facilities on or around April 1, 2020, and the Hot Strip Mill rolling facility before the end of 2020.
Coupled with the layoffs, U.S. Steel executives said they expect the company’s financial performance in the fourth quarter to be worse than originally expected.
President Trump placed tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum to help boost and protect the American steel industry and U.S. steelworkers. In many regions of the country, steel mills — once forced to close due to the impact of free trade — have reopened and hired formerly laid-off steelworkers.
Researchers at the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) have reported that the steel tariffs on foreign steel have helped drive $13 billion in the American steel industry.
Economist Jeff Ferry wrote last month:
The steel tariffs are working. They are delivering prosperity to the steel industry, which is, in turn, benefiting the local communities where steelworks are located. According to industry sources, some $13 billion worth of major steel investment projects is now underway. Most of them are in small towns or semi-rural communities in Middle America, exactly the sort of places that became depressed after years of deindustrialization.
Steve Bennish, who tracks manufacturing employment, questioned whether the U.S. Steel layoffs would be occurring if Republican and Democrat lawmakers had passed a nationwide infrastructure package to not only fix dilapidated roads and bridges, but put American steelworkers to work.
“Maybe if Congress tackled an infrastructure bill to broadly upgrade neglected roads, bridges, various grids etc., we’d be seeing different headlines here,” Bennish said.
The United Steelworkers Union has yet to comment on the layoffs.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.