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Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 5:44 PM
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US Steel Hamilton also extending blast-furnace shutdown
November 13, 2008

BY NAOMI POWELL
The Hamilton Spectator

U.S. Steel Canada will lay off 209 workers and extend the shutdown of its Hamilton blast furnace into 2009, union leaders say.

The steelmaker will temporarily lay off 177 employees  Monday, said Rolf Gerstenberger, president of the United Steelworkers union representing Hamilton workers.

The union was told an  additional 32  layoffs will come in the next two to three weeks, he said.

The workers will not be called back until the plant’s blast furnace is brought back from a shutdown, Gerstenberger said.

The shutdown  -  which began late last month for a tentaive period of six to eight weeks - will now be extended into the new year, Gerstenberger said.

U.S. Steel Canada would only confirm it will lay off 175 workers and would not speculate on any future cuts.

“The length of the layoffs will depend on an increase in customer demand,” said spokesperson Trevor Harris.

Layoffs are occurring across Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel’s North American operations, he said.

“While we have made every effort to maintain employment levels at our operations; we must now adjust our workforce to match our production levels,” Harris said.

“The dramatic downturn in the economy has negatively affected our overall business, and we have adjusted production across all of our operations to stay in line with customer demand.”

The Hamilton plant employs about 1700 people.
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