GRANITE CITY — The second of two blast furnaces at U.S. Steel-Granite City Works will be restarted this fall, creating approximately 300 new jobs at the plant, according to an announcement by the company Tuesday.
In March it was announced that the "B" blast furnace and part of the steelmaking facilities at Granite City Works would be restarted, bringing back approximately 500 laid-off workers and bring the total number of union workers at the facility to about 1,200.
That announcement came after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on imported steel as a result of a report and recommendations by the U.S. Commerce Department following a Section 232 investigation on the impact of foreign steel dumping on national security.
Since then the company has also hired new workers, and the restarting of the "A" furnace will bring about 300 new jobs, according to a company press release.
The restart of blast furnace "B" is in progress.
"We are excited to announce that after the restart of the 'A' blast furnace on or around Oct. 1, all of the steelmaking operations at Granite City will be back on line, helping us meet an increased demand for American-made steel that has only grown since our March announcement," said U. S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt. "After careful consideration of market conditions and customer demand, including the impact of Section 232, the restart of the two blast furnaces at Granite City Works will allow us to serve our customers' growing demand for high quality products melted and poured in the United States."
U.S. Steel-Granite City Works idled in December 2015 due to pressure from foreign steel imports and the collapse of some of the steel market because of low oil prices. In January 2017 part of the facility reopened, bringing back approximately 730 of approximately 1,800 union workers on the steelmaking side.
U.S. Steel-Granite City Works is an integrated steel mill, meaning it can process iron ore into finished steel. Members of USW Local 50 operate the blast furnaces and coke mill, while Local 1899 provides laborer for the steel-making side. Officials with both unions were unavailable for comment.
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-12th District, the co-chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, called the announcement "fantastic news."
"These are 300 jobs that allow 300 families to put food on the dinner table, pay the bills, and put some money away for retirement. I've been working for years to turn the tide against unfairly imported steel that hurts our local economy and I'm pleased to see policies put in place by the Trump Administration have resulted in such positive developments."
In addition to the direct impact on U.S. Steel workers, there numerous companies that supply goods or services to the mill, and the plant has a large economic impact throughout the Metro East.