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BusINess » Steel Industry

Posts Tagged ‘Steel Industry’

Steelworkers urge lawmakers to defeat bills limiting unions

Hundreds of steelworkers, who packed the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Tuesday to ask legislators to vote down several so-called right-to-work proposals, gather for a group picture. (Photograph by AJ Mast/The Times.)

Hundreds of steelworkers, who packed the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Tuesday to ask legislators to vote down several so-called right-to-work proposals, gather for a group picture.
(Photograph by AJ Mast/The Times.)

More than 600 steelworkers packed the marble halls of the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday asking legislators to vote down several so-called right-to-work proposals.

“We realize it’s a Republican-controlled House and Senate, but we’re hoping enough Republicans see the light and stop this,” said Jim Furan, of LaPorte, a heater at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor plant.

At least five different proposals pending in legislative committees would take away some collective bargaining rights from union workers or prohibit non-union employees from having to contribute a fair share toward union-represented services.

“Eventually, you won’t have a union to fight for your benefit packages,” said Calvin Caldwell, of Valparaiso, a mechanic at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor plant.

Pete Trinidad, of Portage, vice president of United Steel Workers Local 6787, said that’s exactly what Republicans want.

“They are just freewheeling attacking labor, which was a big problem for them in the last election,” Trinidad said.

But labor clearly is not giving up without a fight.

Trinidad said Tuesday was steel’s biggest lobbying day at the Statehouse in years, and steelworkers wearing blue USW ballcaps were easily spotted throughout the rotunda, hallways and galleries of the Statehouse.
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Local steel production falls 15,000 tons

Estimated raw steel production in Indiana and the Chicago area — the nation’s second-largest steel-producing region — was 424,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, which was down from 439,000 tons the prior week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Production in the Southern District, the nation’s largest steel-producing region, was estimated at 646,000 tons during the period that ended Saturday, up from the 618,000 tons produced a week earlier.

Domestic mills produced 1.8 million tons of steel last week, up 15.3 percent from the 1.6 million tons made during the same period in 2010. U.S. steel mills operated at 74 percent capacity last week versus 73.7 percent capacity during the previous week.

Year-to-date steel production at U.S. mills is estimated at 9 million tons versus 8 million tons during the comparable 2010 period.


U.S. Steel sees markets improving after 4Q loss

U.S. Steel, whose Gary Works facility is shown, is “cautiously optimistic” that the economy will grow stronger in the first quarter. It expects more shipments and higher production volume to outpace rising raw material costs. (Photograph by Heather Eidson, file/The Times.)

U.S. Steel, whose Gary Works facility is shown, is “cautiously optimistic” that the economy will grow stronger in the first quarter. It expects more shipments and higher production volume to outpace rising raw material costs. (Photograph by Heather Eidson, file/The Times.)

U.S. Steel Corp. officials see signs that business will improve this year, with rising steel prices and more orders across its customer base. The turnaround likely will hinge on the pace of the global economic recovery.

U.S. Steel is “cautiously optimistic” the economy will grow stronger in the first quarter. It expects more shipments and higher production volume to outpace rising raw material costs.

On Tuesday, U.S. Steel reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss after it sold assets and cut spending on facility repair and maintenance.
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Local schools serious players in economic development

NIPSCO engineer Tim Wright, left, stands on the roof of the NIPSCO Bailly Generating Station building in Chesterton with Dui Huang, Bin Wu and Tom Roesel, who are students in Purdue University Calumet's Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation. PUC students saved NIPSCO $1.9 million annually on a pollution control project. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

NIPSCO engineer Tim Wright, left, stands on the roof of the NIPSCO Bailly Generating Station building in Chesterton with Dui Huang, Bin Wu and Tom Roesel, who are students in Purdue University Calumet's Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation. PUC students saved NIPSCO $1.9 million annually on a pollution control project. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, is mining something besides iron ore these days—the knowledge and technology generated by local universities and colleges.

The company has a College Partnership Program and challenged Purdue University Calumet students at the new Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation, or CIVS, to find a solution for a technical inefficiency in its strip processing line.
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Steel trade group: Production up 38%

Production is shown at U.S. Steel in Gary. The American Iron and Steel Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based steel industry trade group, said U.S. steelmakers produced about 88.5 million tons of steel in 2010, compared to about 64.3 million tons in 2009. (Times file photo)

Production is shown at U.S. Steel in Gary. The American Iron and Steel Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based steel industry trade group, said U.S. steelmakers produced about 88.5 million tons of steel in 2010, compared to about 64.3 million tons in 2009.
(Times file photo)

Raw steel production in the United States increased nearly 38 percent in 2010 compared to a year earlier, according to estimates released Monday by the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The Washington, D.C.-based steel industry trade group said U.S. steelmakers produced about 88.5 million tons of steel between January and December, compared to about 64.3 million tons in 2009.
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Program points workers to careers in steel

Jon Andrew Sweeney, of Matteson, stands in front of a blast furnace Thursday at the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Burns Harbor. Sweeney was just hired by ArcelorMittal after taking classes at Prairie State College in the Steelworker for the Future program. ArcelorMittal has hired four recent graduates of Steelworker for the Future, a training partnership launched two years ago to bring more craft workers into the steel industry, said Mark Langbehn, manager of hourly employee training at ArcelorMittal USA. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Jon Andrew Sweeney, of Matteson, stands in front of a blast furnace Thursday at the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Burns Harbor. Sweeney was just hired by ArcelorMittal after taking classes at Prairie State College in the Steelworker for the Future program. ArcelorMittal has hired four recent graduates of Steelworker for the Future, a training partnership launched two years ago to bring more craft workers into the steel industry, said Mark Langbehn, manager of hourly employee training at ArcelorMittal USA. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Andrew Sweeney said it wasn’t part of his initial plan to work in the steel industry.

Hired earlier this year as an electrical maintenance technician working at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, Sweeney said his thoughts changed once he enrolled in a training program that helped him snag a job with the world’s largest steelmaker.
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Auto industry’s return to ‘normal’ boosts steel

A Chicago Assembly Plant employee works on the assembly line. A bevy of challenges remain in the auto and steel industries as lower operating rates, high unemployment and reduced levels of consumer demand are expected to temper short-term performance expectations. (Photograph by The Times.)

A Chicago Assembly Plant employee works on the assembly line. A bevy of challenges remain in the auto and steel industries as lower operating rates, high unemployment and reduced levels of consumer demand are expected to temper short-term performance expectations. (Photograph by The Times.)

Improvements in the domestic auto industry will be a key driver to the economic recovery for steel production, analysts and company executives said.

However, a bevy of challenges remain in both industries as lower operating rates, high unemployment and reduced levels of consumer demand are expected to temper short-term performance expectations.

At a steel conference in Chicago earlier this month, Kim Korth, president of auto research firm IRN, said the recent recession seemed worse than prior ones because the automotive industry sustained a lot of damage in a short time. The 43 percent drop in overall light-duty vehicle production between 2007 and 2009 happened in half the time than the last precipitous decline in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to IRN’s data.
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New temper mill planned in Gary

A Cleveland-area metals service center formed a deal with United States Steel Corp. to buy and locate a new temper mill and cut-to-length line at the Gary Works complex.

Bedford Heights, Ohio-based Olympic Steel Inc. said Thursday terms of the property purchase or lease are being completed and are subject to change, but the company expects to invest about $25 million into the project.

The project includes buying an existing 150,000-square-foot facility to house a cut-to-length line, a four-high temper mill and multiple pieces of plate burning equipment. The temper mill is expected to be operational in the first half of 2012 and Olympic Steel has an option with the equipment manufacturers to buy a second temper mill and cut-to-length line.
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ArcelorMittal profit jumps, but outlook is muted

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, posted a 48 percent jump in third-quarter net profit Tuesday, but said higher raw material prices and muted demand are dampening expectations for the rest of the year.

Net profit rose to $1.4 billion, or 89 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $910 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier, as the global recovery boosted demand for steel. Sales increased 30 percent to $21 billion from $16.2 billion a year earlier.

But earnings were down from the previous quarter, and the company warned of tougher market conditions ahead.
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Steelworkers say China not playing fair on ‘green’ manufacturing

The United Steelworkers union is pressing the Obama administration to investigate China’s trade practices for hindering the development of domestic manufacturing in alternative and clean energy products.

The Pittsburgh-based union filed a trade case with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative Thursday in hopes that the United States eventually initiate meetings with China through a World Trade Organization dispute resolution panel. The Obama administration has 45 days to determine whether it will investigate the petition.

In a summary of a 5,800-page petition, the steelworkers said it found China was using export quotas and taxes to restrict the export of rare earth metals such as yttrium and neodymium used in renewable energy product manufacturing. The union said China also provides subsidies for companies to produce components for items such as wind turbines and requires that production technology must be transferred as a condition of getting investments from state-owned partners or financiers.
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