A brief statement issued Monday by company officials acknowledged layoffs but did not say exactly when workers were being laid off or how many.
“As a result of business conditions, we are adjusting production at our Lorain Tubular Operations,” said the statement provided by Sarah Cassella, a public affairs representative for U.S. Steel.
“While we have made every effort to maintain employment levels, unfortunately we must now adjust our workforce to match our production levels,” the statement said.
The notice said affected employees, who are represented by United Steelworkers Local 1104 in Lorain, had been notified.
Tom McDermott, president pro-tem of Local 1104, declined comment Monday, referring questions to U.S. Steel offices in Pittsburgh.
McDermott confirmed last week that workers at the company’s No. 4 seamless mill would be temporarily laid off for about three months to allow improvements to be made at the mill.
Local 1104 represents about 1,200 workers at U.S. Steel and the adjacent Republic Steel plant, according to figures reported in 2012.
Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer said he was aware of talk about further layoffs beyond those for workers from the No. 4 mill.
“I had heard additional layoffs were possible, what with the issue of South Korea and dumping and how that would affect our steel markets,” Ritenauer said.
An anti-dumping ruling handed down last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed import tariffs on a number of countries that export steel products into the U.S.
The ruling did not place tariffs on South Korea, the biggest exporter of steel tubing to the U.S. — the same type of steel tubing produced at U.S. Steel, according to McDermott.
U.S. Steel and other American steel-makers filed a complaint in 2012 alleging South Korea was “dumping” or selling steel products in the U.S. below fair market costs.
U.S. Steel is one of the city’s biggest employers, producing $1.7 million in income taxes in 2012, Ritenauer said.
Due to a recently-enacted half-percent hike in local income tax rates from 2 to 2.5 percent, the city’s income tax revenues from the company were estimated by Ritenauer to be more than $2 million for 2013.
“Markets can fluctuate, and unfortunately, companies have to look to cut their expenses to stay within those fluctuations,” Ritenauer said. “The hope is that things will bounce back sooner than later.”