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UPDATE: U. S. Steel plans to permanently close blast furnace and most flat-rolled finishing facilities at Fairfield Works

United States Steel Corporation announced Monday it plans to{}permanently close its blast furnace and associated steelmaking operations, along with most of the flat-rolled finishing operations at Fairfield Works. {}

"We have made some difficult decisions over the last year as part of our portfolio optimization," said Mario Longhi, U. S. Steel President and CEO. "We have determined that the permanent shut-down of the Fairfield Works blast furnace, steelmaking and most of the finishing operations is necessary to improve the overall efficiency and cost structure of our flat-rolled segment."

The operations will be idled{}on or after{}Nov. 17, 2015. {}The decision does not impact Fairfield Tubular Operations or the electric arc furnace (EAF) construction project. {}You may remember, the company announced it was laying off 1,600 workers in Alabama alone. {}Those layoffs began in March; however some employees were called back.{}

USW International Vice-President Tom Conway told ABC 33/40 the{}USW has been aware of the impending shutdown. {}He said Monday's announcement is{}tough news for{}many families.

Conway said the USW is continuing discussions with U.S. Steel regarding the impact of this announcement on union{}members. "We are discussing the future and anticipated staffing needs at the newly announced operations as well as the remaining operating facilities and the potential addition of new operations at the Fairfield Works," Conway added.

"We are counseling our members regarding their options under the labor agreement and related benefits agreements and will expand our existing Career Development programs to assist those who may need training and want to explore educational opportunities beyond the Fairfield Works. {}The USW will continue to work to salvage every possible job at the facility and to insure that our members are treated with the dignity and respect they have earned and deserve during this difficult time."

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