Curtis Tate Published

Cleveland Cliffs To Shutter Weirton Facility, Lay Off 900 Workers

Molten steel pouring into a vessel.DedMityay/Adobe Stock

Steelmaker Cleveland Cliffs said Thursday it will idle its Weirton tinplate plant in April, putting 900 workers out of a job.

The Cleveland-based company said an unfavorable ruling from the International Trade Commission was behind the move.

Last year, Cleveland Cliffs and the United Steelworkers petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to declare unfair trade practices on foreign tin and chromium coated sheet steel products. 

Commerce then imposed tariffs on four countries: Canada, China, South Korea and Germany. However, the International Trade Commission rejected the tariffs earlier this month.

Cleveland Cliffs said the plant’s workers would be offered opportunities to transfer or receive severance.

West Virginia’s U.S. senators reacted negatively to the Cleveland Cliffs announcement.

“While little consolation to the hardworking men and women facing this incredible loss – and to the Weirton community at large – I fought to sustain operations there since learning of Cleveland Cliffs’ and the United Steelworkers’ concerns with unfair trade practices last year,” said Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito. “As I have said before, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final decision announced in January demonstrated our government’s recognition of the damage these unfair trade practices have had on America’s domestic tin mill production and its workers.”

“Today’s announcement is a consequence of the International Trade Commission’s decision to turn a blind eye to nearly 1,000 hard-working employees right here in West Virginia in favor of illegally dumped and subsidized imports,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat. “Cleveland-Cliffs’ closure is an absolute injustice not only to American workers, but to the very principle of fair competition, and it will undoubtedly weaken our economic and national security.”