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The United States Steel Corporation ( ), more commonly known as U.S. Steel, is an integrated steel producer with major production operations in the United Statesmarker, Canadamarker, and Central Europe. The company is the world's tenth largest steel producer ranked by sales (see list of steel producers). It was renamed USX Corporation in 1991 and back to United States Steel Corporation in 2001 when the shareholders of USX spun off its steel-making assets following the acquisition of Marathon Oil in 1982. It is still the largest domestically owned integrated steel producer in the United States, although it produces only slightly more steel than it did in 1902.

U. S. Steel is a former Dow Jones Industrial Average component, listed from April 1, 1901 to May 3, 1991. It was removed under its USX Corporation name with Navistar International and Primerica Corporation.

History

J. P. Morgan and Elbert H. Gary founded U. S. Steel in 1901 (incorporated on February 25) by combining the steel operations owned by Andrew Carnegie with Gary's Federal Steel Company and William Henry "Judge" Moore's National Steel Company for $492 million. It was capitalized at $1.4 billion, making it the world's first billion-dollar corporation. At one time, U. S. Steel was the largest steel producer and largest corporation in the world. In 1907 it bought one of its largest competitors Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company which was headquartered in Birminghammarker, Alabamamarker. This led to the company being listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, doing so by taking the place of Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. The federal government attempted to use federal antitrust laws to break up U. S. Steel in 1911, but that effort ultimately failed. Time and competitors have, however, accomplished nearly the same thing. In its first full year of operation, U. S. Steel made 67 percent of all the steel produced in the United States. It now produces less than 10 percent.

The Corporation, as it was known on Wall Streetmarker, always distinguished itself to investors by virtue of its size, rather than for its efficiency or creativeness during its heyday. In 1901, it controlled two-thirds of steel production. Because of heavy debts taken on at the company's formation — Carnegie insisted on being paid in gold bonds for his stake — and fears of antitrust litigation, U. S. Steel moved cautiously. Competitors often innovated faster, especially Bethlehem Steel, run by U. S. Steel's former first president, Charles M. Schwab. U. S. Steel's share of the expanding market slipped to 50 percent by 1911.

U. S. Steel's production peaked at more than 35 million tons in 1953. Its employment was greatest in 1943 (during World War II) when it had more than 340,000 employees; by 2000, however, it employed 52,500 people. The federal government has also intervened on other occasions to try to control U. S. Steel. President Harry S. Truman attempted to take over its steel mills in 1952 to resolve a crisis with its union, the United Steelworkers of America. The Supreme Court of the United Statesmarker blocked the takeover by ruling that the president did not have the constitutional authority to seize the mills (see Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, ). President John F. Kennedy was more successful in 1962 when he pressured the steel industry into reversing price increases that Kennedy considered dangerously inflationary. The federal government prevented U. S. Steel from acquiring National Steel in 1984 and political pressure from the United States Congress forced it to abandon plans to import British Steel slabs. It finally acquired National Steel's assets in 2003 after National Steel went bankrupt. U. S. Steel acquired Marathon Oil in 1982, as well as Texas Oil & Gas several years later. It reorganized its holdings as USX Corporation in 1986, with U. S. Steel (renamed USS, Inc.,) as a major subsidiary.

At the end of the 20th century, the corporation found itself deriving much of its revenue and net income from its energy operations, so U. S. Steel eventually spun off Marathon and other non-steel assets (except Transtar) in October, 2001.

Labor

U. S. Steel maintained the labor policies of Andrew Carnegie, which called for low wages and limited unionization. The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers union that represented workers at the Homestead, Pennsylvaniamarker plant was, for many years, broken after a violent strike in 1892. U. S. Steel defeated another strike in 1901, the year it was founded. U. S. Steel built the city of Gary, Indianamarker in 1906, and 100 years later it remains the location of the largest integrated steel mill in the Northern Hemisphere. U. S. Steel did reach a détente with unions during World War I, when under pressure from the Wilson Administration it relaxed its opposition to unions enough to allow some to operate in certain factories. It returned to its previous policies as soon as the war ended, however, and in a 1919 strike defeated union-organizing efforts by William Z. Foster of the AFL, later a leader of the Communist Party USA.

During the 1920s, U. S. Steel, like many other large employers, coupled paternalistic employment practices with "employee representation plans" (ERPs), which were company unions sponsored by management. Ironically, these ERPs eventually became an important factor leading to the organization of the United Steelworkers of America. The Company dropped its hard-line, anti-union stance in 1937, when Myron Taylor, then president of U. S. Steel, agreed to recognize the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, an arm of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) led by John L. Lewis. Taylor was an outsider, brought in during the Great Depression to rescue U. S. Steel, and had no emotional investment in the Company's long history of opposition to unions. Watching the upheaval caused by the United Auto Workers' successful sit-down strike in Flint, Michiganmarker, and convinced that Lewis was someone he could deal with on a businesslike basis, Taylor sought stability through collective bargaining.

The Steelworkers continue to have a contentious relationship with U. S. Steel, but far less so than the relationship that other unions had with employers in other industries in the United States. They launched a number of long strikes against U. S. Steel in 1946 and a 116-day strike in 1959, but those strikes were over wages and benefits and not the more fundamental issue of union recognition that led to violent strikes elsewhere.

The Steelworkers union attempted to mollify the problems of competitive foreign imports by entering into a so-called Experimental Negotiation Agreement (ENA) in 1974. This was to provide for arbitration in the event that the parties were not able to reach agreement on any new collective bargaining agreements, thereby preventing disruptive strikes. The ENA failed to stop the decline of the steel industry in the U.S.

U. S. Steel and the other employers terminated the ENA in 1984. In 1986, U. S. Steel locked out thousands of its employees when it shut down a number of its facilities as a result of a drop in orders on the eve of a threatened strike. In addition, U. S. Steel and other steel producers demanded extensive concessions from their employees in the early 1980s through the direction of J. Bruce Johnston, U. S. Steel executive vice president. In a letter to striking employees in 1986, Johnston warned, "There are not enough seats in the steel lifeboat for everybody." In addition to reducing the role of unions, the steel industry had sought to induce the federal government to take action to counteract dumping of steel by foreign producers at below-market prices. Neither the concessions nor anti-dumping laws have restored the industry to the health and prestige it once had.

Environmental record

The town was the scene of the infamous Donora Smog of 1948. Between October 26 and October 31, 1948 an air inversion trapped industrial effluent (air pollution) from the American Steel and Wire plant and U.S. Steel's Donora Zinc Works. "In three days, 20 people died... After the inversion lifted, another 50 died, including Lukasz Musial, the father of baseball great Stan Musial. Hundreds more finished the rest of their lives with damaged lungs and hearts. But another 40 years would pass before the whole truth about Donora's bad air made public-health history." [2] Today the town is home to the Donora Smog Museum which tells the impact of the Donora Smog on the air quality standards enacted by the federal government in subsequent years.[40158]

Based on year 2000 data, researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute ranked U. S. Steel as the second-greatest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States. In that year, the company released more than 1.26 million kg (2.8 million pounds) of toxins, chiefly ammonia, hydrochloric acid, ethylene, zinc compounds, methanol, and benzene, but including manganese, cyanide, and chromium compounds. In 2004, the city of River Rouge, Michiganmarker and the residents of River Rouge and the nearby city of Ecorsemarker filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for "the release and discharge of air particulate matter...and other toxic and hazardous substances" at its River Rouge plant. In 2005, the Illinois Attorney General brought suit against U.S. Steel for alleged air pollution in Granite City, Illinoismarker.111

The Company has also been implicated in generating water pollution and toxic waste. In 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an order for U. S. Steel to clean up a site in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvaniamarker, on the Delaware River, where the soil had been contaminated with arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals, as well as naphthalene; groundwater at the site was found to be polluted with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and trichloroethylene (TCE). In 2005, the EPA, United States Department of Justicemarker, and the State of Ohiomarker reached a settlement requiring U. S. Steel to pay more than $100,000 in penalties and $294,000 in reparations in answer to allegations that the company illegally released pollutants into Ohio waters. U. S. Steel's Gary, Indianamarker facility has been repeatedly charged with discharging polluted wastewater into Lake Michiganmarker and the Grand Calumet Rivermarker, and in 1998 agreed to a $30 million settlement to clean up contaminated sediments from a five-mile (8 km) stretch of the river.

It should be noted, however, that with the exception of the Fairless Hills and Gary facilities, the lawsuits concern facilities acquired via U. S. Steel's purchase of National Steel Corporation in 2003.

The U.
S.
Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh.


Legacy

The U.marker S.marker Steel Towermarker in Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker is named after the company and the company's offices take up a part of the building.

The Pittsburgh Steelers professional football team borrowed elements of its logo, a circle containing three hypocycloids, from the Steelmark logo belonging to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and created by U. S. Steel.

In the 1950s, when helmet logos became popular, the Steelers added players' numbers to either side of their gold helmets. Later that decade, the numbers were removed and in 1962, Cleveland's Republic Steel suggested to the Steelers that they use the Steelmark as a helmet logo.

When the Steelmark logo was created, U. S. Steel attached the following meaning to it: Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure and widens your world. The logo was used as part of a major marketing campaign to educate consumers about how important steel is in our daily lives. The Steelmark logo was used in print, radio and television ads as well as on labels for all steel products, from steel tanks to tricycles to filing cabinets.

In the 1960s, U. S. Steel turned over the Steelmark program to the AISI, where it came to represent the steel industry as a whole. During the 1970s, the logo's meaning was extended to include the three materials used to produce steel: yellow for coal, orange for ore and blue for steel scrap. In the late 1980s, when the AISI founded the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), the logo took on a new life reminiscent of its 1950s meaning.

U.S. Steel financed and constructed the Unispheremarker in Corona Parkmarker, Queensmarker, New Yorkmarker for the 1964 World's Fair. It is the largest globe ever made and is one of the world's largest free standing sculptures.

The Chicago Picassomarker sculpture was fabricated by U. S. Steel in Gary, Indiana before being disassembled and relocated to Chicago

U. S. Steel donated the steel for the Polish Cathedral of St. Michael's in Chicago since 90 percent of the parishioners worked at its mills.

U. S. Steel sponsored The United States Steel Hour television program on CBS.

U. S. Steel built Disney's Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney Worldmarker.

In the film The Godfather Part II, Hyman Roth tells Michael Corleone "Michael, we're bigger than U. S. Steel", which was a paraphrase of Meyer Lansky.

Dividends

It is the present policy of the Board of Directors to consider the declaration of dividends four times each year, with checks for dividends declared on common stock mailed for receipt on the 10th of March, June, September and December. The current dividend as of 2008 is $0.30 per share. Dividends may be paid by, mailed check, direct electronic deposit into a bank account, or be reinvested in additional shares of U. S. Steel common stock.

Facilities

U. S. Steel has multiple domestic and international facilities. Of note in the United States is Clairton Works and Edgar Thomson Worksmarker, both members of Mon Valley Works and just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Clairton Works is the largest coking facility in North America. Edgar Thomson Worksmarker is one of the oldest steel mills in the world. The Company acquired Great Lakes Works and Granite City Works, both large integrated steel mills, in 2003 and is partnered with Severstal North America in operating the world's largest electro-galvanizing line, Double Eagle Steel Coating Company, at the historic Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michiganmarker.

U. S. Steel's largest domestic facility is Gary Works, in Gary, Indianamarker; Gary is also home to the U.marker S.marker Steel Yardmarker baseball stadium.

U. S. Steel operates a tin mill they acquired in East Chicagomarker now known as E.C. Tin after L.T.V. went bankrupt.U. S. Steel operates a sheet and tin finishing facility in Portage IN. known as Midwest Plant acquired from the National Steel bankruptcy.U. S. Steel operates Fairfield Works in Fairfield, Alabamamarker (Birminghammarker), employing 1500 people, and still operates a sheet galvanizing operation at the Fairless Works facility in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvaniamarker, employing 75 people.

U. S. Steel acquired National Steel and subsequently operates Great Lakes Works in Ecorse Mich., Midwest Plant in Portage IN., and Granite City Steel in Granite City, Illinoismarker> In 2008 a major expansion of Granite City was announced, including a new coke plant with an annual capacity of 650,000 tons.

U. S. Steel operates a pipe mill, Lorain Tubular Operations, in Lorain, Ohiomarker.

U. S. Steel operates two major taconite mining and pelletizing operations in northeastern Minnesota's Iron Range under the operating name Minnesota Ore Operations. The Minntac mine is located near Mountain Iron, Minnesotamarker and the Keetac mine is near Keewatin, Minnesotamarker. U. S. Steel announced on February 1, 2008 that it would be investing approximately $300 Million in upgrading the operations at Keetac, a facility purchased in 2003 from the now-defunct National Steel Corporation.

Internationally, U. S. Steel operates facilities in Slovakia (former East Slovakian Iron Works in Košicemarker) and Serbia (former Sartid company with facilities in Smederevomarker (steel plant, hot and cold mill) and Šabacmarker (tin mill).

Recently, U. S. Steel added facilities in Texasmarker with the purchase of Lone Star Steel Company, entered a venture in Pittsburg, Californiamarker with POSCO of South Koreamarker, and purchased Stelco (now U. S. Steel Canada) to expand into the Canadian market, with works in Hamiltonmarker and Nanticoke, Ontariomarker.

New training facility

The company held a formal dedication ceremony on July 24th, 2008 for the new Mon Valley Works Training Hub in Duquesne, Pa. The fully renovated, state-of-the-art facility, which is located on a portion of the property once occupied by the company's Duquesne Works, will serve as the primary training site for employees who work at the company's three Pittsburgh-area Mon Valley Works locations.

Notes

  1. Morris, Charles R. The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J.P. Morgan invented the American supereconomy, H. Holt and Co., New York, 2005,pp.255-258. ISBN 0805075992, and http://fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/United-States-Steel-Corporation-Company-History.http
  2. [http://www.peri.umass.edu/Technical-Notes.264.0.html Political Economy Research Institute Toxic 100 Corporate Toxics Information Project Technical Notes retrieved 12 Nov 2007
  3. Political Economy Research Institute
  4. Charfoos & Christensen, P.C.
  5. U.S. Steel Fact Sheet from Charfoos & Christensen, P.C.
  6. [ http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3MKT/is_37-1_113/ai_n15686749 American Metal Market, 19 Sept. 2005] qtd. in http://findarticles.com
  7. Environmental Protection Agency
  8. Environmental Protection Agency
  9. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  10. U.S. Steel Official web site - Dividend history
  11. U.S. Steel Official web site - Dividend info
  12. U. S. Steel official Web site - Press Room
  13. Duluth News Tribune
  14. U. S. Steel official Web site - Press Room


References



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