Ashland, Ky. – AK Steel released a notice to hourly and salaried employees at its Ashland, Kentucky Works plant that the company intends to temporarily idle the blast furnace.
The notice, issued under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, enacts a 60-day period – from Friday, Oct. 16 – that must be given prior to idling operations and laying-off employees. The steel plant employees nearly 950 people, over 800 of which would be affected by the idling.
In a release, AK Steel said the temporary idle of steelmaking operations at the facility are the result of “challenging domestic market conditions.”
If market conditions do not improve, it is expected that the idling of the affected portions of the facility will begin in mid-December of 2015 and could last more than six months.
“We are taking this necessary step due to the onslaught of what we believe are unfairly traded imports of carbon steel that have been flooding our shores. These imports have substantially reduced order intake rates, production rates, shipment volumes and selling prices,” said James L. Wainscott, Chairman, President and CEO of AK Steel. “We will continue to closely monitor market conditions and run our overall operations as efficiently as possible to continue to meet our customers’ needs.”
AK Steel, along with other domestic steel companies, has filed anti-dumping and counter-vailing duty trade cases with the International Trade Commission with respect to coated, cold-rolled and hot-rolled carbon steel products in an attempt to combat these foreign imports.