U.S. Steel Corp. announced Wednesday it will restart one of two blast furnaces at its steel mill in Granite City, Ill., and rehire approximately 500 employees as a result of a planned 25 percent tariff President Donald Trump wants to impose on steel imports.
“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 flooded U.S. markets,” U.S. Steel President and CEO David Burritt said in a statement.
The Pittsburgh-based steel company said the additional capacity it is creating will support an anticipated increase in demand for domestically produced steel. The plan to restart the blast furnace will take up to four months and will be done in cooperation with leadership from the United Steelworkers labor union, the company said.
The company's Granite City Works blast furnaces and facilities were idled in December 2015. The plant's hot-strip mill was idled in January 2016 "in response to challenging market conditions" but restarted in February 2017 after it was adjusted to meet customer needs, the company said.
Rep. Mike Bost, an Illinois Republican who co-chairs the Congressional Steel Caucus, said the announcement was a "big victory."
"Through bipartisan legislation, we empowered the Department of Commerce to help American companies and workers respond rapidly to illegally traded imports, but more needed to be done," Bost said in a statement. "That’s why I helped advance efforts for the Section 232 investigation and took the case of Southern Illinois’ steelworkers directly to President Trump as he was deliberating its findings and recommendations."