A blast furnace at a US Steel plant being tapped United States Steel Corporation

US Steel Cuts 25% of North American Nonunion Workers

The cuts will affect about 750 employees, including an Indiana mill GM and the company’s two top safety managers. “This is a company in flux,” the United Steelworkers Local 1014 president wrote. “I wish I could tell you what the end game is.”

Already deep in a downswing, U.S. Steel will cut more jobs, according to a series of media reports Wednesday and Thursday.

The company will lay off about one quarter of all North American nonunion employees, which works out to about 750 people. Among the bigger names to be affected, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will be Matthew Perkins, general manager of the company’s flagship mill in Gary, Ind., as well as the company’s two top safety managers.

U.S. Steel counts about 21,000 employees in North America, about 18,000 of which are represented by United Steelworkers. The company has another 12,000 in Europe, most of whom are located in Kosice, Slovakia, where more layoffs are expected. Five years ago, those numbers were around 23,000 and 19,000, respectively.

These are not good days for steel in many spots around the globe, with the British steel crisis in full swing and U.S. Steel, for one, turning in just one profitable year since 2009.

The Pittsburgh-headquartered steelmaker lost $1.5 billion last year, is expected to report a first-quarter loss of at least $1.20 per share, and was criticized by USW Local 1014 president Rodney D. Lewis Sr. after the recent layoff news:

“This is a company in flux,” Lewis wrote. “I wish I could tell you what the end game is with this company but truthfully speaking I doubt they have a clue.”

U.S. Steel has been shedding jobs and at least temporarily been shuttering operations for months. In March, it laid off close to 800 workers at its tubular division, and temporarily idled that division’s plants in Texas and Alabama. In February, it announced plans to cut about 75 jobs by outsourcing its treasury and accounting departments.

In November, it temporarily idled its Granite City Works in Illinois after sending layoff warning notices to 2,000 employees. And in August, it announced plans to permanently idle its blast furnace and flat-roll finishing operations in Alabama.

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