Another 300 Steel Jobs Announced in Granite City, Illinois

By Matthew McMullan
Jun 06 2018 |
United Steelworkers Local 1899 President Dan Simmons, who represents workers at Granite City Works in Illinois, visited Capitol Hill in September 2017 to generate support for action on steel imports. | File Photo

Company cites increased demand, improving U.S. economy.

In Washington right now, there’s some Republican feudin’ going on over who calls the shots over trade. Becasue the Republicans in the Senate don’t like what the Republican in the White House is doing!

Republicans! We don't think this is a good idea, and we hope they work it out.

Meanwhile, out in the states, there’s an example of the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs working as planned: An idled steel mill in Granite City, Illinois is firing up its blast furnaces again.

The plant is a Metro-East landmark — a behemoth of heavy industry that sprawls across 1,500 acres and looks its age. Pipes and smokestacks wear a coat of grit and rust. Exterior walls sport U.S. Steel’s signature blue paint that is weathered in places and peeling.

But the steelworkers proudly talk about plant updates that can’t be seen from the road. Like the new caster that was installed just as the plant was being idled in 2015. And the huge capacity of Blast Furnace “B,” the one they were preparing to fire up.

The plant can produce 2.8 million net tons of raw steel a year. It serves customers in the construction, container, piping and tubing and automotive industries.

 “We can make anything,’’ said (USW Local 1899 President Dan Simmons), 58. “And it's like making a cake — whatever the customer orders, we can put this recipe together for the greatest steel they want.’’

You’ll notice the word is blast furnaces, plural. After the tariffs were unveiled in March, U.S. Steel, which owns the plant, announced that it would be restarting one of the two furnaces in Granite City and hiring (or returning) 500 workers. The mill and its workers had been idled since 2015, and its workers spent a long time getting it back online.

But while these workers in Illinois were celebrating the return of 500 jobs, the company announced the other blast will be brought back this fall. And that will mean another 300 steelworking jobs.

That's excellent news! And Hopefully, it won't be undermined by the discontent on Capitol Hill.