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No impact yet from USS lockout: Dofasco

Keywords: Tags  United State Steel, USS, United Steelworkers, union lockout, Lake Erie Works, Canada, Dofasco, steel supply Lou Schorsch

NEW YORK — Flat-rolled steel producer ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc. says it has yet to be affected by a union lockout at nearby U.S. Steel Corp.’s Lake Erie Works.

"Obviously, the Canadian market moves very much in tandem with the U.S. market ... (but) I think that it’s very early days on that front," Louis Schorsch, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal USA Inc.’s Flat Carbon Americas division, said during a company earnings call May 10. "We haven’t seen a major impact of stoppage at Lake Erie since it’s in its very early days. It may have some major impact (in the future) on fundamentals though."

Last month, U.S. Steel locked out some 1,000 United Steelworkers union members at its Nanticoke, Ontario-based operations after both sides failed to reach a new labor agreement (, April 29). Some speculated that nearby producers—including ArcelorMittal Dofasco, located about 40 miles away in Hamilton—could benefit if production were taken offline.

A spokesman for U.S. Steel did not respond to a request for comment. It was unclear whether hot-mill production was affected at the Lake Erie plant.

Schorsch added that the "slight wrinkle" behind the lack of pickup in activity as a result of the lockout was due to what he called "extremely high levels" of up to four months’ inventory on hand in the region.

"That market is relatively soft. I think U.S. Steel has a lot of capacity in that region," he added. "But as for any impact, we haven’t seen it yet."

Steel buyers told AMM that the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker stocked up on inventory before giving the union a 72-hour lockout notice April 25 (, May 2).

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