ArcelorMittal USA announced Monday it will idle the #4 blast furnace at the Indiana Harbor steel mill in East Chicago, Indiana, according to local news reports.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted ArcelorMittal USA’s key use markets. In response to this, we are adapting our capacity to meet changing demand while maintaining the flexibility of our operations,” ArcelorMittal spokesman Bill Steers said in a statement to media.
The company said it “hopes” to resume operations at blast furnace #4 by May 11, but acknowledged that the date could be further postponed as the pandemic crisis evolves.
The United Steelworkers union said it is not aware of how extensive the subsequent layoffs will be, but union officials were reportedly told a “significant number” of workers there will be put in a plant-wide general labor pool to continue working while “assuming new responsibilities” during the idling.