U.S. Steel calling back 500 workers for blast furnace restart in - KMOV.com

U.S. Steel calling back 500 workers for blast furnace restart in Granite City

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GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KMOV.com) – One of two blast furnaces at the United States Steel Corporation’s Granite City Works facility will be restarted.

"We're ecstatic. This has been , long overdue," said Dan Simmons, president of Steelworkers Local 1899. "My phone is ringing off the hook and hasn't stopped and traffic people coming in the door all asking the same question: When, where and can't wait to get back to work."

The Granite City Steel Plant was idle for more than two years, and half of it will roar back to life on the words of President Trump. 

In a press release Wednesday morning, the company stated the “additional capacity will support anticipated increased demand for steel in the United States from the pending action announced by President Donald J. Trump on March 1."

Read: President Trump's announcement of steel import tariffs brings hope to Granite City

“Our Granite City Works facility and employees, as well as the surrounding community, have suffered too long from the unending waves of unfairly traded steel products that have flooded U.S. markets,” said U. S. Steel President and Chief Executive Officer David B. Burritt. “The Section 232 action announced by President Trump last week recognizes the significant threat steel imports pose to our national and economic security."

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It's a sentiment echoed at the local level as well. 

"If we can keep the illegal imports from coming in we can compete against anybody," said Simmons.  

However some economists, as well as Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, say the move could do more harm than good hurt other parts of the nation's economy.

"This is a dangerous game," said Ayse Evrensel, an economist with SIUE. "It is a game that does not promote the competitiveness of the United States, does not promote the efficiency of the United States."

The restart process of the “B” blast furnace could take four months. The company said it anticipates calling back around 500 employees beginning in March.

Both blast furnaces at the steelmaking facility were idled in December 2015, with the plant’s hot strip mill idled in January 2016. The hot strip mill restarted in February 2017.  The “A” blast furnace will remain idle. 

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