AK Steel has recalled hundreds of hourly workers who were laid off late last year from its plants in Ashland and Russell.
According to local reports, the majority of the 650 workers who were furloughed from the Ashland plant have been recalled, with some 225 returning to the Russell facility.
Company officials warned, however, that the callbacks were not necessarily indicative of an improved outlook for the company, which is a major supplier of steel to U.S. automotive plants.
“This is not because conditions are getting better,” AK spokesman Alan McCoy told The (Ashland) Independent. “It’s because we’re going to take the opportunity to do some more extensive maintenance on our blast furnaces than we would ordinarily do if we were at capacity.”
The Cincinnati-based company is restarting its Kentucky blast furnaces while it shuts down the furnace at its plant in Middletown, Ohio, in order to replace its hearth. Some 140 employees have been laid off in Middletown as a result.