Chesterton Tribune



US Steel cutting 25 percent of salaried workforce

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U.S. Steel Corporation (USS) is downsizing its non-represented, salaried workforce by 25 percent.

A company spokesperson called the move a “restructuring” and attributed it both to current market conditions and to long-term strategic belt-tightening.

“This is part of the ongoing adjustment to staff levels and operations due to challenging market conditions, including fluctuating oil prices, reduced rig counts, depressed steel prices, and unfairly traded imports,” Sarah Cassella told the Chesterton Tribune today.

But the downsizing is also the latest “effort” in what USS has dubbed the “Carnegie Way,” Cassella confirmed. The company introduced the Carnegie Way in its 2013 annual report, describing it as a “comprehensive transformation process” intended to return USS to “sustainable profitability.”

One of the first “initiatives” under the Carnegie Way, announced in spring 2014, was a reduction of the workforce involved in “operations and business-support functions,” although the company declined at the time to identify any target number or to say whether the reductions were to be achieved through attrition, layoffs, or early buyouts.

This latest restructuring will impact a quarter of the non-represented workforce--or roughly 750 of the company’s 3,000 salaried employees--but none of the 18,000 employees represented by the United Steelworkers. Those impacted will receive benefits under the company’s supplemental unemployment benefits program, Cassella said. She would not say how the restructuring will be implemented at Gary Works. “We are not providing context on the number of jobs by location.”

The downsizing comes two months after USS announced a $1.5 billion net loss in 2015, the sixth year out of the last seven in which the company has posted a loss.

In its 2016 Proxy Statement, USS discussed the 2015 financial results in this way: “Macroeconomic factors created market challenges for the corporation that negatively affected revenues, earnings, and stock price in 2015. Despite these difficult conditions, our focus on what we can control was a significant contributor to 2015 results and helped to mitigate many of the negative effects of the challenging economic environment. Benefits from our Carnegie Way transformation efforts continue to grow and include cost reductions, improving the flexibility and reliability of our operations, and working more closely with our customers to create differentiated and value-enhancing solutions.”

“We believe that without the benefits realized through our Carnegie Way initiatives in 2014 and 2015, the corporation would have been much more negatively impacted by market headwinds, including high levels of imports and low global commodity prices,” USS added.

Other moves which the company has pursued under the Carnegie Way include the permanent closure of coke batteries at Gary Works and Granite City, Ill., Works, affecting approximately 475 workers; and the permanent suspension of steelmaking operations at its Fairfield, Ala., Works, affecting 1,110 workers.

Meanwhile, in December the company temporarily idled the whole of its Granite City Works facility, laying off some 2,000 employees. And last month it idled tubular facilities in Texas and Alabama, laying off another 800.



Posted 4/7/2016





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