Aug 20, 2019

U.S. Steel plant in Michigan will temporarily lay off up to 200 employees

Michigan steelworkers rally in support of manufacturing jobs in early 2000s. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Pittsburgh-based United States Steel plans to halt production at a Michigan plant, resulting in a temporary layoff of up to 200 workers, CNBC reports.

Why it matters: President Trump has boasted that the U.S. steel industry has been "thriving" since he took office, following a 2016 campaign promise to revive American manufacturing. Overall, domestic steel prices have decreased along with demand, causing the company to readjust production in several cities.

Context: American steel prices initially increased as a result of the first round of Trump's tariffs on steel imports, but subsequently dropped due to weakening demand from the auto and farm machinery sectors, per CNBC.

  • U.S. Steel's stock price has plummeted 73% since March 2018, which is when Trump announced his decision to reign in foreign steel imports.
  • Job growth in the steel industry has largely been flat due to plants becoming more reliant on automation, the New York Times reports.

What to watch: The layoffs could last for up to six months. They will impact nearly every sector of the plant, from blast furnace to finishing operations, a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

5 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.