OCTOBER 19, 2015
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By ADAM BLACK The Daily Independent The Independent Online
ASHLAND, KY. — Members of the United Steelworkers Local 1865 are left wondering about their careers and families after the announcement of a possible 800 hourly and salaried employees being laid off at AK Steel’s Ashland Works.
The company on Friday issued a notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act to hourly and salaried employees at its Ashland Works that it intends to temporarily idle the blast furnace and related steelmaking operations at the facility as a result of challenging domestic market conditions.
“They’re not guaranteeing there are going to be layoffs but there is a chance, depending on how the fourth quarter looks,” said Scott Conley, president of United Steelworkers Local 1865.
Conley said if the layoffs happen it would have a trickle-down effect not only on the families of the employees laided off but the entire community.
“For every one person laid off, it affects seven people,” he said.
Like AK Steel, Conley also blames the possible layoffs on the unfairly traded imports of carbon steel that have been flooding the shores. Conley said that the unfair trade was not only affecting AK Steel but many other steel-producing companies in the United States. “It’s a bad time for the U.S. and we need to do something about it,” he said.
AK Steel, along with other domestic steel companies, has filed anti-dumping and counter-vailing duty trade cases with the International Trade Commission with respect to coated, cold-rolled and hot-rolled carbon steel products in an attempt to combat these foreign imports.
“We need to put tariffs in place and stop this from ruining the economy,” said Conley.
The WARN notice begins a 60-day period that must be given prior to idling operations and laying-off employees under the WARN Act. If market conditions do not improve, it is expected that the idling of the affected portions of the facility will begin in mid-December and could last more than six months, according to a press release.