LONE STAR, Texas — U.S. Steel is closing its plant here, and laying off 600 people as a result of a "dramatic decline in business conditions" caused by the pandemic, according to a company official.
"We will accelerate the previously announced indefinite idlings of the #1 and #2 Weld Mills and associated heat-treat and finishing operations at our Lone Star Tubular Operations," according to a statement released in early May. "We will also now indefinitely idle the plant's #2 Heat Treat Line, Finishing Line 2, Pipe Main Finishing Line and related supporting departments, which will result in a complete idling of the facility upon conclusion."
Lone Star is located in Morris County and is about 73 miles from Texarkana and about six miles outside Daingerfield.
The indefinite closure of U.S. Steel's Hughes Springs, Texas, location of Wheeling Machine Products was also announced. The Hughes Springs layoffs affect about 50 employees.
The 600 Lone Star employees being laid off include management and corporate employees and employees who are members of the United Steel Workers, said Meghan M. Cox, U.S. Steel's external communications manager.
The closure efforts at both plants are currently underway, she said.
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) were sent to employees, which helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs, Cox said.
U.S. Steel purchased the defunct Lone Star Steel Co. in 2007. That year, the company employed 1,400 workers, according to earlier Gazette reports.
The Lone Star community did not develop until the 1930s when a Dallas-based company established the steel mill, according to the Texas State Historical Association website.
During World War II, the plant expanded to 600 acres and employed about 6,000, according to the website. The Lone Star community incorporated in the mid-1950s as a result of people settling there to be near work, according to the website.
The business prospered in the 1970s and began having economic challenges in the 1980s, primarily because of the decline in the oil industry and competition from steel suppliers abroad, the website states.
Almost half of the company's 3,800 employees were laid off in 1986.
U.S. Steel's Seamless Mill at Lorain Tubular Operations in Lorain, Ohio, is also expected to close.
"We will operate our remaining tubular facilities (Fairfield Tubular Operations, Offshore Operations Houston, and Wheeling Machine Products Pine Bluff, Arkansas, location) at reduced levels in line with current demand and make additional adjustments as needed," a release states.