Indiana Harbor Steel Bar Making Plant Expected To Close
January 26, 2015 — Lakeshore Public Media staff — The “Times” reports that the Indiana Harbor Long Carbon facility in East Chicago is currently scheduled to be idled by ArcelorMittal on March 1, before being shut down in the following three months.
The plant closing could result in the permanent loss of more than 300 jobs if the employees aren’t transferred or absorbed into ArcelorMittal’s other Northwest Indiana facilities. Only the Indiana Harbor Long Carbon facility is affected in this decision.
Spokesperson Mary Beth Holdford said that the 114-year old facility has lost money annually since 2011. Indiana Harbor Long Carbon was shut down in 2009 during the recession but, after it re-opened, faced rising costs, inefficient scheduling, and under-use.
While ArcelorMittal warned the plant may be closed for good, they are expecting the majority of employees currently working there to be relocated or to find other positions within the company.
The United Steelworkers Union continues to negotiate with the company in an effort to save jobs. District 7 Director Mike Millsap said ArcelorMittal wants to import billets, and the USW hopes to instead work out a deal where they can still be made in East Chicago.
U.S. Steel notified workers last week that it would idle the nearby East Chicago Tin plant and lay off 369 workers. The plant makes tin-plated steel mainly for food containers. U.S. Steel said that tin imports taking up market share and falling oil prices led to its cuts. The company does say it hopes to restart operations and bring back employees when market conditions improve.
U.S. Steel’s laid off more than 1,300 workers nationwide this January.
[Photo of Indiana Harbor complex, courtesy of ArcelorMittal USA]