AK Steel announced in a press release that it will temporarily idle its Ashland, Kentucky operations due to the recent unanticipated and major downturn in the economy. This downtown has resulted in a lower demand for some of the company’s products.
The company says it plans to keep the facility closed until early to mid-January.
The blast furnaces will be maintained in “hot-idle” status which means the furnaces will keep going although they are not producing steel.
AK Steel services the automobile industry. The move will immediately impact 650 of the 700 union workers at the Ashland Works. Union leaders say the loss of work here will also hurt complementary businesses. The Greenup County Judge-Executive tells WSAZ.com Stein Flag Corporation has given notice of potential layoffs for workers there. Union leaders estimate this could affect at least 300 other jobs in the area.
The union says many questions remain here. Workers will either get unemployment or supplemental pay, which is the equivalent of between 50 and 80 percent of their base pay.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information
PRESS RELEASE: West Chester, OH, November 11, 2008—AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) announced today that it is temporarily idling its Mansfield, Ohio operations, and most of its Ashland, Kentucky operations, due to the recent unanticipated and major downturn in the economy, which has resulted in sharply lower demand for some of the company’s products. The company said that, based upon currently foreseeable market conditions, both facilities will remain idled until early- to mid-January.
AK Steel’s Mansfield Works currently employs 365 hourly and salaried men and women. The plant produces stainless flat-rolled steel which is used primarily to manufacture automotive exhaust systems. Steel production and shipping temporarily ceased at the Mansfield Works earlier this week. A small number of hourly and salaried employees will continue to maintain the operations in anticipation of a resumption of production when warranted by business conditions.
The Ashland Works produces carbon flat-rolled steel for automotive, appliance and other markets, and the plant currently employs 1,100 hourly and salaried men and women. However, about 275 of the Ashland Works employees work at the company’s coke plant, which will continue to operate, but at a reduced level. Ashland’s blast furnace, steelmaking, casting and coating operations will be idled later this month. As in Mansfield, a small number of hourly and salaried employees will continue to work maintaining the idled operations in preparation for a re-start. The company said Ashland’s blast furnace would be maintained in "hot-idle" status.
The company said it continues to evaluate all of its operations and administrative functions in light of the economic downturn, and will be prepared to adjust to continued rapidly changing conditions. That would include restarting the idled operations sooner if warranted by significantly improved business conditions.
"We remain hopeful that we will be able to return our dedicated and hard-working employees to their jobs as swiftly as possible," said James L. Wainscott, chairman, president and CEO. "Of course, that depends entirely on credit availability and consumer confidence, which are at the heart of this serious economic downturn."