Workers At U.S. Steel Enraged By $15B Sellout

The steel industry has long been a vital component of the American economy. However, recent transactions involving the sale of major steel companies to foreign buyers have raised concerns among United Steelworkers (USW) union members.

In a recent interview on “Mornings with Maria,” Local 1219 President Michael Evanovich expressed his disappointment: “The workers were the ones who contributed to the profits, yet they sold off to the highest bidder, leaving our members uncertain about their future.”

One significant deal that caught attention was U.S. Steel’s decision to sell the company to Japan’s Nippon Steel, the world’s fourth-largest steelmaker. The transaction, valued at $14.9 billion, represented a 40% premium to U.S. Steel’s stock.

While shareholders have reaped the benefits of this merger, union members are worried about their job security and what the future holds under foreign ownership. USW Local 1557 President Don Furko expressed his concerns: “I feel like they haven’t prioritized America by selling out to a foreign entity.”

In response to these concerns, U.S. Steel released a statement in February highlighting the potential benefits of Nippon Steel’s investment. They said it would strengthen the American steel industry, benefitting customers, employees, and communities. Nippon Steel also assured that they would honor the union’s collective bargaining agreement and pledged no layoffs or facility closures due to the transaction. They further emphasized that U.S. Steel’s headquarters would remain in Pittsburgh, reinforcing their commitment to the local community.

However, past layoffs and the indefinite idling of operations at U.S. Steel’s Granite City, Illinois mill have created skepticism among workers and their families. The impact of these layoffs extends beyond the workers themselves, affecting the local businesses that rely on their income. Edith Arnold, a resident whose relative has worked at the mill for over three decades, voiced her concerns, stating, “You shut them down; what are they going to do? These small businesses depend on their spending.”

The acquisition of American steel companies by foreign entities has also attracted attention at the political level. Former President Donald Trump, who implemented steel tariffs to protect the industry, opposed such deals. He stated, “We put big tariffs on steel. I saved the steel companies. And now Japan is buying U.S. Steel. That’s not a deal I would let go through.”

As these transactions unfold, the steel industry finds itself at a crossroads. The concerns of union members and the broader community highlight the need for transparency and accountability in such deals. It remains to be seen how these foreign acquisitions will impact the American steel industry and the communities that rely on it.