U.S. Steel slashes 25 percent of salaried jobs

U.S. Steel's MinnTac facility is the largest active iron ore operation in the United States, and "king" of the Iron Range mines of Northern Minnesota. (PHOTO: U.S. Steel)

(PHOTO: U.S. Steel)

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, owner and operator of two major mines on the Mesabi Iron Range and co-owner of a third, announced Wednesday it would slash 25 percent of its salaried workforce.

The job cuts are focused on its North American operations.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The steelmaker had 21,000 employees in North America as of Dec. 31. About 18,000 are represented by the USW, according to the company’s Feb. 1 statement announcing union workers had ratified a new three-year collective bargaining agreement. The layoffs announced Wednesday will affect a quarter of the remaining 3,000 employees, or about 750 people.

U.S. Steel operates Minntac in Mountain Iron, the largest iron mine in Minnesota. It is also a minority owner of Hibbing Taconite, which is also owned by ArcelorMittal and Cliffs Natural Resources, which operates the mine.

U.S. Steel’s Keewatin Taconite plant has been idled for a year now. The company has made no announcement about reopening the plant any time soon. Last I heard the special tires had been removed from the big haul trucks and sent elsewhere. That would indicate being at least months away from reopening, if not longer.

As I’ve written before, it seems that the global reordering of the steel industry will end up costing the Iron Range jobs over time. It’s likely at least one of the region’s six taconite mines will close for lack of demand in coming years. Perhaps more if potential investors succeed in reopening the Essar plant near Nashwauk.

These last few weeks have produced mixed messages from the Minnesota iron ore properties. On one hand, the price of ore has increased slightly. Cliffs espoused great optimism at its recent annual breakfast meeting. Cliffs is reopening Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay, where it plans to make more value-added ore products.

However, we are still waiting to see if that optimism translates into the reopening of United Taconite near Eveleth, which has also been idled for almost a year. Further, as this recent Lee Schafer Star Tribune column shows, the industry still shows signs of weakness over the next several years.


  1. Makes one wonder….when was the last time the government slashed jobs by 25%??

  2. 2013, Republican led (by Ted Cruz) government shutdown furloughing without pay 28% of government workers, some 800,000 out of 2.8 million employees with economic loss of est. $24 billion.

  3. Ranger47 says

    Way too short a shutdown. Plus, can you believe they all got paid for not working?

  4. Ranger47 says

    AND….nobody was fired!!!

  5. hardrockminer says

    24 billion dollar economic loss, or savings to taxpayers?

  6. Political “b.s. economics” hardrock.

    Of course a politician is going to say – “if you eliminate my job, you’re going to suffer”.

    When’s the last time you went to the social security office, post office, court house, DNR office, Mn department of transportation, Mn department of education, drivers license bureau, etc. etc. and didn’t see employees standing around?

    Government is bloated big time..

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