ArcelorMittal will idle its Conshohocken rolling mill and lay off 150 steelworkers, the company said Tuesday in confirming a statement put out by the United Steeworkers.
In its statement issued Monday, the USW blamed the Trump administration’s lack of action on steel imports for the loss of jobs.
In April, the president called on the Department of Commerce to act expeditiously, but five months have passed without any action taking place, the union said, arguing that the delay is also putting U.S. soldiers in the field at risk.
“Originally we were told that the steel investigation would be done by June,” said USW International Vice President Thomas M. Conway. “Now, press reports indicate the work is essentially done, but the White House wants to wait until Congress finishes tax reform.
“Steelworkers are angry that their jobs and national security interests are treated as secondary to tax cuts for the rich and powerful. Our national security should always come first,” Conway said. “Many steelworkers being laid off at this facility proudly wore the uniform and are dedicated to making vital equipment for our troops. The administration’s refusal to act is just another sign that the Washington swamp has not been drained; it is business as usual. The White House needs to get its priorities straight.”
Company Spokeswoman Mary Beth Holdford confirmed the cutbacks in an email.
“ArcelorMittal USA will consolidate its plate operations by idling its rolling mill in Conshohocken, Penn., within the next year,” Holdford wrote. “This decision was precipitated by the limited demand from key manufacturers that build bridges, ships, tank cars, and military equipment, coupled with the ongoing surge of unfairly traded imports of steel.”
The Conshohocken facility will continue to operate its unique heat treat, finishing and inspection facilities to finish steel rolled by its sister facilities in Coatesville and Burns Harbor, Ind. It was not immediately known how many jobs will remain to do that work.
“The product transfer from Conshohocken to our Coatesville and Burns Harbor facilities will have minimal impact to our customers and our product capabilities and offerings,” Holdford said. “Additional investments in Burns Harbor and Coatesville will be made to efficiently accommodate the product transfer.”
The leadership team in Conshohocken is working on an implementation plan for the layoffs, and will solicit input from the United Steelworkers, Holdford added.
In its letter to the secretaries of commerce and defense, the union calls on the administration to complete its Section 232 investigation on the national security impact of steel imports. U.S. Sens. Robert P. Casey Jr. and Patrick J. Toomey as well as U.S. Reps. Brendan F. Boyle, Dwight Evans, Ryan Costello, Patrick Meehan and Brian Fitzpatrick were copied on the letter.
“The idling of this steel facility and layoff ... is another direct blow to our national security,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard said. “Our soldiers deployed in harm’s way depend on products made in this facility in building Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles, Bradley land systems and all Navy Seapower systems. This steel closure is on the administration’s watch. At what point will they conclude their investigation and act?”
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America, including the union workers in Conshohocken and Coatesville.