LORAIN, Ohio– In a statement released on Thursday, Republic Steel announced that it is temporarily idling rolling mill operations at its Lorain facility. Two-hundred workers will be laid off.
Those 200 employees were the only workers at the facility. There will be 900 employees that will continue to be employed at Republic Steel’s other locations, in Canton, Massillon, Solon, Lackawanna, New York and Hamilton, Ontario.
“We hope that we can resume the Lorain operations in the near future,” stated President and CEO Jaime Vigil in the statement. “We are positioned for growth and will be ready to provide capacity once the market turns around.”
They said in the statement that the Lorain plant has struggled throughout the last year and had no other option but to idle the mill operations at the Lorain plant.
“It really is kind of shocking,” United Steelworkers Local 1104 President Dennis Hamilton told Fox 8 News, who said the plant has been struggling for the last year. “The steelworkers here in Lorain have been through a lot in the last year, and they’re strong and they’re good workers, and I think going forward we’ll get through this together.”
Hamilton said the union received word that U.S. Steel, which also operates out of the Lorain plant, is also cutting workers. Hamilton said the temporary layoffs will reduce the workforce from 370 to 75. That means only 75 workers would remain at the plant, which Hamilton said employed more than 1,200 workers one year ago.
U.S. Steel declined to release numbers of layoffs but External Communications Manager Sarah Cassella said in a statement, “we continue to adjust our production at Lorain to meet our operational and business needs.”
“Nights are very hard to sleep, thinking the next day is it going to get any worse?” Hamilton said, adding the impact on the Lorain economy will be huge. “It’s gonna be devastating. Already, the City of Lorain has been struggling financially because of what we went through last year, and this is going to be another big blow for the community, the City of Lorain, Lorain County, as well as the state of Ohio. It’s a domino effect.”
U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who represents Lorain, said she had not received official notification of the layoffs.
“These lost jobs reflect the total and repeated failure of our government to prevent other countries, including China, from raiding our economy, closing their own markets to our goods, and committing countless anti-competitive trade abuses including dumping cheap steel into our marketplace below cost,” Kaptur said in a statement.
Kaptur said her proposed Balancing Trade Act would renegotiate any trade deal that has produced a deficit of more than $10 bullion for at least three consecutive years.
Back in March of 2015, 200 employees were laid off as well from the Lorain plant.