U.S. Steel to Idle Keewatin Plant

U.S. Steel to Idle Plant in May; 412 Employees Impacted

United States Steel Corporation announced Thursday it will temporarily idle its Minnesota Ore Operations – Keetac plant in Keewatin, Minn., effective May 13.

The temporary idling is due to the company’s current inventory levels and ongoing adjustment of its steel making operations throughout North America to match customer demand.

The company routinely adjusts production at its operating facilities to reflect market fluctuations.

These ongoing operational adjustments are a result of challenging market conditions that reflect the cyclical nature of the industry.

Global influences in the market, including a high level of imports, unfairly traded products and reduced steel prices, continue to have an impact.

As part of the temporary idling, 412 employees at Keetac have been advised of the upcoming temporary idling and are being issued notices under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

The number of employees impacted will be based upon operational and, or maintenance needs.

The company will continue to produce iron ore pellets at its Minntac plant in Mt. Iron, Minn.

Representative Carly Melin had the follwing to say about the idling of the plant, “This is difficult news for so many of my friends and neighbors whose families earn a living at Keewatin Taconite. Over the last few years, foreign countries have flooded the world’s steel markets with cheap steel, undercutting the American steel industry which in turn has threatened mining on the Iron Range. I am in contact with the president of USW Local 2660 at KeeTac and will be available on the Range tomorrow and over the weekend to meet with workers who have questions. I will do everything I can to ensure these workers are connected with the Dislocated Worker Program at the Department of Employment and Economic Development and have access to unemployment benefits.

“Unfortunately, this situation is not an unfamiliar experience for the Iron Range. We will get through this by working together to get Keewatin Taconite back up and running and taking care of the workers in the meantime.”

Workers seeking unemployment benefits can apply online at www.iumn.org.

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