Advance Notice: Briefs

U.S. Steel lays off roughly 50 in Ecorse, plans more cuts

By: - August 20, 2019 12:34 pm

The manufacturer U.S. Steel has laid off almost 50 employees at its Great Lakes Works Facility in Ecorse, according to a letter they sent earlier this month to the state’s Workforce Development Agency.

In the letter, the company’s director of employee relations, Mark Tade, notes has temporarily idled one of its furnaces “due to current market conditions and recent reductions in customer demand for the plant’s products.” 

Tade also writes that the company is likely to lay off “less than 200” employees in September, and that the layoffs may last more than six months.

At an appearance in Detroit yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence touted President Donald Trump’s economic agenda, saying, “Despite the irresponsible rhetoric of many in the mainstream media, the American economy is strong and the U.S. economic outlook remains strong, as well.”

The Trump administration has repeatedly promised to revive the Midwest’s economic base of heavy manufacturing. Bloomberg reported in July, however, that its regime of steel tariffs has cost U.S. Steel almost $6 billion

The tariffs have hurt legacy companies like U.S. Steel that use older manufacturing equipment, to the benefit of companies that use newer furnaces.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has been critical of the Trump administration’s tariffs, citing the impact on Michigan.

Bank of America analyst Tinna Tanners told Bloomberg that “less efficient capacity should go away, but there is no guarantee that it permanently goes away. … It probably doesn’t go down without a fight.”

In a recent quarterly press release, the company’s president and CEO, David Burritt, said, “Our execution in the second quarter was strong despite challenging market conditions.”

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Derek Robertson
Derek Robertson

Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.