WASHINGTON U.S. Steel
Corp. has locked out the nearly 1,000 unionized workers at its
Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ontario.
The lockout began at 9 a.m.
April 28, according to a bulletin on the United Steelworkers
While the impact on operations
is unclear, the lockout comes as the U.S. sheet market faces
Market participants have said
that if output were taken offline, it wouldnt be enough
to change the capacity situation. However, there could be a
short-term impact, they added, noting that the lockout could
affect U.S. Steels Hamilton Works in Ontario, which
doesnt have a hot-strip mill.
The status of the hot-strip
pickling line was also unclear April 29, but at least one
industry source said it was represented by a different union
and wouldnt be affected by the lockout.
Neither union officials nor U.S.
Steel could be reached for comment.
"Three days ago, U.S. Steel sent
the local union ... a notice that they would lock out employees
at 9 a.m. on April 28. We believe that this is both an
indication that the company doesnt need the output of
this plate over the short term, but also believe that this will
be helpful to the market and may help flat-rolled steel pricing
in some minor way," Charles Bradford, president of Bradford
Research Inc., New York, said in a note.
The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker
gave its 72-hour lockout notice to the union in a letter dated
April 25 after contract negotiations between the two parties
amm.com, April 25). The previous three-year
contract officially expired April 16.
Talks between the parties heated
up in recent weeks after the union claimed the company was
training salaried, nonunion workers to operate its hot-strip
mill, including rolling slabs, at the Canadian complex, raising
speculation that operations could continue in the event of a
amm.com, April 8).
An estimated 980 Lake Erie
workers are members of USW Local 8782, representing some 70
percent of the 1,350 total workers at the facility. Lake Erie
Works, which is one of North Americas newest integrated
facilities, manufactures about 2.25 million tonnes of slabs and
3 million tonnes of hot-rolled coils, according to its
A lockout during the last set of
contract negotiations at Lake Erie Works lasted eight months
before the two sides reached a three-year deal (
amm.com, April 16, 2010).