A partnership between Republic Steel and a Minnesota iron ore company says it plans to restart a northeast Ohio blast furnace that’s been idle since 2016.
Republic Steel announced a plan to restart Blast Furnace 4, and possibly a second one, to produce pig iron used in the steel making process.
Union leaders say according to their collective bargaining agreement, laid off workers would be the first to be hired back.
“We Have a number of people who are laid off and are subject to recall. You know anything that would restart the blast furnace would bring work to our members and hopefully give another venture for Republic Steel would be welcome news for the steelworkers,” said Pat Gallagher with United Steel Workers
When the layoffs hit, Lorain lost a million dollars a year in tax revenue.
That caused layoffs to the fire department.
“We’re really excited that steel manufacturing is coming back to the city of Lorain,” said Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer.
Ritenauer said Republic’s plan is good news for the city.
“To have the jobs out there, not to mention the disposable income, patronizing city of Lorain establishments. It’s all good from what it’s going to mean for family and other businesses in the community. Certainly, it will help the income tax base for the city as well,” Ritenauer said.
While restarting blast furnaces could mean bringing back many jobs, Republic hasn’t said exactly how many jobs.
The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports that 200 workers were laid off in 2016 when the mill was idled and that more than 1,000 Lorain steelworkers have been laid off.