Republic Steel idles more than 120 workers in Lorain

20 July 2015

Republic Steel, 1807 E. 28th St. in Lorain, has announced temporary layoffs July 17 for workers in hot-end operations.

Mayor Chase Ritenauer said he heard there are about 150 layoffs, while Crain’s Cleveland Business reported about 125.

The layoffs are tied into the larger oil and gas industries, Ritenauer said.

“It’s just one of those things with the global economy,” he said. “There’s a lot of unrest out there right now.”

Ritenauer said his thoughts are with the laid off workers and their families. In the future, the mayor said he hopes that the market will rebound and people can get back to work.

He said he is unsure of what opportunities the workers’ union contracts will afford them.

“Republic Steel has additional plants, so whether those people have the ability to go to other plants remains to be seen,” Ritenauer said.

Republic Steel laid off 200 workers in March and 105 workers in October 2014.

U.S. Steel, 2199 E. 28th St. in Lorain, laid off more than 600 workers in March.

Ritenauer said U.S. Steel is one of Republic Steel’s biggest customers, and with U.S. Steel struggling, it makes sense that Republic Steel also is struggling.

The layoffs impact the city and its ability to provide services, the mayor said.

“We’ve been keeping a very, very watchful eye on revenue as well as expenses as we round out the year,” Ritenauer said.

Neither Republic Steel nor United Steelworkers 1104 could be reached for comment.

Republic Steel’s electric arc furnace was announced in November 2011 as an $85.2 million investment, one of the largest economic projects in Lorain’s recent history. The company was expected to create almost 450 jobs producing special bar quality steel and steel to be sold to neighboring U.S. Steel.