Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co., one of the nation's top largest steel makers, today announced plans to close its production facilities in suburban Campbell and to lay off or fire 5,000 of its 8,950 [WORD ILLEGIBLE] workers.
Production of seamless pipe will not be affected, supported by steel produced at the Ber Hill works here. But the shutdown announced today will reduce local production to 500,000 tons annually from a current capacity of 1.8 million tons for a 27 per cent cut in the overall firm's capacity to ship finished steel.
The Youngstown Sheet decision was the latest in a series of actions by America's major steel manufacturers to cut back operations. Bethlehem Steel Corp., No. [WORD ILLEGIBLE] In the industry, recently announced layoffs for 7,300 workers and a cutback of production by 2.6 million tons a year at plants in flood-damaged Jonstown, Pa., and near Buffalo, N.Y.
R.C. Rieder, chairman and chief executive of Lyke Corp., firm of Youngstown Sheet 4d Tube, said his company also considating most of its operations at the Indiana Harbor works near Chicago. Youngstown Sheet and Tube will nove its corporate headquarters to that area, he said.
"The pricing of steel products has been subjected to governmental interference by such pressures as jawboning, demands for pre-ltification of price increases or $99[WORD ILLEGIBLE] and unjustified pricing investigations, all of which, have resulted in a facto price control over the past 15 years," said Rieder, echoing similar statements by other industry leaders in recent months.
"The steady and persistent erosion of our profit margains, strongly affected by foreign imports, governmental price restraint and mourning evironmental regualtion have brought about the circumstances which requires this decision," he added.
In Tokyo, the newspaper Nainichi Shimbun reported that Japen steel industry plans to reinstate voluntary restrictions on steel exports on the United States next year to ease. American criticism against rising imports from Japan.
The paper quoted Yoshiliro In yama, president of the Japan Iron and Steel Federation and chairman of Nipon Steel Corp., as saying Japanese industry is considering a plan for quantitative regualtions for more than one year keeping the annual growth of shipments at 2.5 per cent."
The Japanese industry enforced similar voluntary restrictions from 1969 to 1974. Its shipments to the United States in 1974 stood at 6.5 million tons. Exports rose to 7.24 million tons last year, drawing strong criticism from the American industry.
Some U.S. steel makers, however, demand that imports from Japan be held at 5 million tons a year and that prices also be regulated under multi-national arrangements.
Rieder of Lykes also said steadily mounting demands for "non-productive environmental expenditures" are using up capital resources which are badly needed to improve efficiently and to lower costs to remain competitive with foreign producers.
"The costs associated with these mandatedexpenditures, which are disproportionately large for older steel facilities, are not being recovered in the market place," the Lykes executive claimed.
The shutdown is taken with "great reluctance, recognizing the impact of the decision on our many loyal employees, their families and the communities who have had a deep involvement in the Campbell works since the founding of the company," Rieder said.
Gov. James A. Rhodes responded to Youngstown's announcement by sending a plea for help to President Carter.
Rhodes telegraphed Carter after meeting in his Columbus office with steel and labor union leaders. One industry spokesman told him: "If something is not done quickly we won't be producing the steel this country needs in 1980. Foreign steel is coming in and we may soon be in the same position as we are now in oil."
Rhodes' telegram urged Carter "to act to curtail the impact of foreign steel imports on the economy and the people of Ohio."
"We also urge you to support legislation pending in the Congress which would stop the unfair competition of foreign steel producers," the governor's telegram stated. "The jobs of thousands of Ohio's working men and women are at stake."
The telegram carried the names of Rhodes, five legislative leaders, six labor leaders and nine steel companies with Ohio plants.
Rhodes said Ohio, the nation's second-largest steel-producing state, "can draw attention to the fact that President Carter and the Congress will have to be concerned with imports."
Rhodes also said a first order of business will be an attempt to help unemployment created in the Youngstown area.
Frank Leseganich, president of District 26 of the United Steelworkers Union headquartered in Youngstown said, "My phone has been ringing off the hook. The wives are calling up crying. I can't blame them."
"I had no word whatsoever," he said. "The imports are killing us. There's no question about it. Dammit, the federal government will do nothing.
"I think Jimmy Carter should take a long, hard look at this," said Leseganich. "We've lost the shoe industry, the clothing industry, the electronic industry. I don't think there is a typewriter made in this country.We are becoming a consumer nation, not a producer.
"We'll all be out there looking for jobs fixing toasters made in the Japanese empire," he said.
The company said the operations that will be discontinued haven't been profitable in recent years. It also said demand for hot and cold rolled sheets, the firm's major local product, has been severely depressed during the past 30 months.