U.S. Steel enacts idling to adjust plant output

Over 400 steel workers have been advised of an imminent idling at their worksite, the Minnesota Ore Operations' Keetac plant in Kewatin, Minn., the United States Steel Corporation announced March 12.

The idling is due to routinely fluctuating inventory levels, and the company stated that the lowered activity is expected to be temporary. Steel production is characteristically calibrated according to market demand; the action is also affected by several international factors such as import levels, unethically traded products and reduced steel prices.

These ongoing operational adjustments are reported to be a consequence of challenging global market conditions that reflect the industry’s cyclical nature. Four hundred and twelve affected workers were notified under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, though the actual number will depend on operational needs.

The WARN Act was legislated in August 1988. Its purpose is to offer protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide at least 60 days’ notice of covered plant closings or layoffs. U.S. Steel will continue to manufacture iron ore pellets at its Minntac plant located in Mt. Iron, Minn.

With headquarters in Pittsburgh, the corporation is a major steel producer with operations spanning the U.S. and Central Europe. It has the capacity to produce up to 24.4 million net tons of steel annually.