It’s no secret to people living and working in Indiana and Illinois that the steel mills in our part of the country are having trouble. It’s reported that U.S. Steel revenue fell 34% in the first quarter of 2015. That’s a huge loss. What’s happening? The argument is that overseas steel manufacturers are able to beat the prices of domestic steel makers because of subsidies, and American steel companies are not able to compete. So they are losing big money.
This has led to a major lawsuit being filed by the major U.S. steel makers with the International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce last week. U.S. Steel has been joined by AKSteel, ArcelorMittal, Nucor, and Steel Dynamics, among others, in a huge case against steel importers from countries like China India, Brazil, and Russia arguing that these foreign steel companies are low-balling steel products here for a staggering to think about 320% under value price just to grab U.S. market share.
For details, read the NWI Times story by Joseph S. Pete entitled, “Steelmakers file sweeping trade case against major importers.”
Money’s Tight for Our Steel Makers
What this has meant to our area is that steel mills are losing money and mills are being shut down. Workers are losing jobs. The belts of the big American steelmakers are tight and getting tighter.
In January, for instance, ArcelorMittal announced it was shutting down two steel facilities in northwest Indiana and 304 workers were going to lose their jobs there. The company said it would try and relocate its employees to other jobs as best it could.
Working in the steel industry is dangerous. Workers, male and female, can get hurt in all sorts of ways, including:
- Fall on same level
- Struck by object
- Caught in object, equipment or material
- Struck against object
- Exposure to harmful substance
- Overexertion (except lifting)
- Overexertion in lifting
- Fall to a lower level
- Transportation accidents
- Slip, trip
- Repetitive motion
Are Steel Workers Facing Increased Risk of Injury?
Will these falling profits and decisions to close down facilities mean that steel workers will be less protected while working on the job? Where do safety systems and hazard protections go when everyone in the home office is concerned about the bottom line?