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Lake Erie BF restart to take 3 weeks: USW

Keywords: Tags  U.S. Steel, Nanticoke, Lake Erie, coke ovens, blast furnace, hot-strip mill, USW, Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — It would take three weeks before the blast furnace at U.S. Steel Corp.’s Lake Erie Works starts production if United Steelworkers union Local 8782 ratifies the latest proposal on Aug. 30, the union said.

The blast furnace is estimated to take three weeks to finish the existing reline and start production, the union speculated in a note to workers on its website, though the hot-strip mill would resume operations “as quickly as possible.”

However, the coke ovens would not start immediately due to excess coke on the ground at Lake Erie and Hamilton.

“This coke will be used before starting up the ovens,” the union added. “Non-essential coke oven personnel will be reassigned to other departments until operation resume at the ovens. There is no definite plan on when the ovens start back up but it could be six to eight months.”

Earlier this month, local union members rejected what the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker called its “final offer” by 71 percent (, Aug 1).

The lockout, which is in its 18th week, has helped tighten the sheet market in recent weeks, particularly the spot market in southern Ontario, Canada, because its nearby Hamilton Works does not have a hot-strip mill.

A spokesman for U.S. Steel did not respond to requests for comment.

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