(CHICAGO) — A partially-shuttered Illinois steel plant plans to fire up its blast furnace again, putting as many as 500 people back to work following the Trump administration’s move to slap tariffs on imported steel.
U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works plant in Granite City, Illinois, had idled a blast furnace and its steelmaking facilities in December 2015, laying off approximately 2,000 workers in response to what the company called “challenging market conditions,” including excess steel capacity globally and “unfairly traded imports,” according to a news release.
“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 flood U.S. markets,” U.S. Steel President and CEO David Burritt said.
U.S. Steel executives believe President Trump’s move this week to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel will increase demand for steel made in the U.S. They anticipate calling back approximately 500 employees back to work.
“We are deeply, deeply thankful,” James Amos, head of economic development for Granite City, told ABC News. “It’s good news. Everyone who lives in this community knows many people who are going back to work.”
Amos estimates that as many as 400 of the company’s former employees never found new jobs after the plant was idled. There are many other industries and workers in town, from truck drivers to restaurant and gas station owners to real estate agents, who will also benefit from Trump’s announcement, Amos said.
“Our hope is that this marks the beginning of a much-needed recovery for the domestic steel industry and for American manufacturing,” United SteelWorkers International President Leo Gerard said in a news release. The USW represents 850,000 workers in the U.S., including the steelworkers in Granite City.
“We hope this restart will breathe new life into the community and that the mill can continue to provide good jobs for workers and their families for generations to come,” Gerard said.
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