Sparrows Point owner temporarily lays off 500 steel workers

August 19, 2010|By Hanah Cho, The Baltimore Sun

About 500 workers at Sparrows Point have been temporarily laid off because of a two-week shutdown of the steel mill's finishing side operations, according to a spokeswoman at Russian steel company Severstal.

The shutdown began Sunday and will end Aug. 29, spokeswoman Marika Diamond said Thursday.

"Due to the softening market conditions, we temporarily idled some of the finishing operation for a two-week period … so that we could align our capacity with market demands," she said.

John Cirri, president of United Steelworkers Local 9477, said last week that the shutdown could result in forced layoffs as opposed to retirements and voluntary layoffs.

Union officials also said last week that Severstal is looking for a buyer for the plant in Baltimore County and its other financially strapped U.S. plants. The company declined to comment on reports of a sale.

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