U.S. Steel

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United States Steel Corporation
Traded as NYSEX
Industry Steel
Founded March 2nd, 1901 by merger/buyout of Carnegie Steel
Elbert Gary
William Moore
J. P. Morgan
Headquarters U.S. Steel Tower
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Area served
Key people
Mario Longhi[1]
John P. Surma[2]
(Executive Chairman of the Board)
Products Flat-rolled steel
Tubular steel
Services Consulting
Revenue Increase US$ 17.507 billion (2014)[3]
Increase US$ 413 million (2014)[3]
Increase US$ 102 million (2014)[3]
Total assets Decrease US$ 12.314 billion (2014)[3]
Total equity Increase US$ 3.799 billion (2014)[3]
Number of employees
37,000 (2014)[3]
Website USSteel.com

The United States Steel Corporation (NYSEX), more commonly known as U.S. Steel, is an American integrated steel producer with major production operations in the United States, Canada, and Central Europe. The company was the world's 15th largest steel producer in 2014. It was renamed USX Corporation in 1986 and back to United States Steel Corporation in 2001 when the shareholders of USX spun off the oil & gas business of Marathon Oil and the steel business of U. S. Steel to shareholders. In 2001 it was still the largest domestically owned integrated steel producer in the United States, although it produced only slightly more steel than it did in 1902, after significant downsizing in the 1980s.[4]

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.[5] An original member of the S&P 500 since 1957, U.S. Steel was removed from that index on July 2, 2014, due to declining market capitalization.[6][7]



J. P. Morgan and the attorney Elbert H. Gary founded U.S. Steel on March 2nd, 1901 (incorporated on February 25) [8] by combining Andrew Carnegie's Carnegie Steel Company with Gary's Federal Steel Company and William Henry "Judge" Moore's National Steel Company[9][10] for $492 million ($13.99 billion today). At one time, U.S. Steel was the largest steel producer and largest corporation in the world. It was capitalized at $1.4 billion ($39.82 billion today),[4] making it the world's first billion-dollar corporation.[11] The company headquarters was established in 1901 in the Empire Building, purchased from the estate of Orlando B. Potter for $5 million.[12] In 1907 it bought its largest competitor, the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, which was headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. This led to Tennessee Coal's being replaced in the Dow Jones Industrial Average by the General Electric Company. The federal government attempted to use federal antitrust laws to break up U.S. Steel in 1911, but that effort ultimately failed. In its first full year of operation, U.S. Steel made 67 percent of all the steel produced in the United States. One hundred years later, its shipments accounted for only about 8 percent of domestic consumption.[4]

The Corporation, as it was known on Wall Street,[4] 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.[4] 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.[4]

James A. Farrell was named president in 1911 and served until 1932.

Mid century

U.S. Steel ranked 16th among United States corporations in the value of World War II production contracts.[13] Production peaked at more than 35 million tons in 1953. Its employment was greatest in 1943 when it had more than 340,000 employees; by 2000, however, it employed 52,500 people.[4] 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 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.[14] President John F. Kennedy was more successful in 1962 when he pressured the steel industry into reversing price increases that Kennedy considered dangerously inflationary.[15]

The U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh.

The USX period

In the early days of the Reagan Administration, steel firms won substantial tax breaks in order to deal with imported goods. Instead of modernizing their mills, steel companies shifted capital out of steel and into more profitable areas. In March 1982, U.S. Steel took its concessions and paid $1.4 billion in cash and $4.7 billion in loans for Marathon Oil, saving approximately $500 million in taxes through the merger. The architect of tax concessions to steel firms, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), complained that "we go out on a limb in Congress and we feel they should be putting it in steel."[16] The incident is the subject of a song by folk singer Anne Feeney.

The federal government prevented U.S. Steel from acquiring National Steel in 1984 and political pressure from the United States Congress as well as the United Steelworkers (USW) forced the company to abandon plans to import British Steel slabs.[4] U.S. Steel finally acquired National Steel's assets in 2003 after National Steel went bankrupt. As part of its diversification plan U.S. Steel acquired Marathon Oil on January 7, 1982, as well as Texas Oil and Gas several years later. Recognizing its new scope, it reorganized its holdings as USX Corporation in 1986, with U.S. Steel (renamed USS, Inc.) as a major subsidiary.[17]

About 22,000 USX employees stopped work on August 1, 1986, after the United Steelworkers of America and the company could not agree on new employee contract terms. This was characterized by the company as a strike and by the union as a lockout. This resulted in most USX facilities becoming idle until February 1, 1987, seriously degrading the steel division's market share. A compromise was brokered and accepted by the union membership on January 31, 1987.[18] On February 4, 1987, three days after the agreement had been reached to end the work stoppage, USX announced that four USX plants would remain closed permanently, eliminating about 3,500 union jobs.[18]

Corporate raider Carl Icahn launched a hostile takeover of the steel giant in late 1986 in the midst of the work stoppage. He conducted separate negotiations with the union and with management, and proceeded to have proxy battles with shareholders and management until abandoning all efforts to buy the company out on January 8, 1987, a few weeks before union employees returned to work.[18]

Modern era

The U.S. Steel Tower in New York City (now Liberty Plaza).

At the end of the twentieth century, the corporation found itself deriving much of its revenue and net income from its energy operations, so led by CEO Thomas Usher, U.S. Steel spun off Marathon and other non-steel assets (except railroad company Transtar) in October, 2001, and expanded internationally for the first time by purchasing operations in Slovakia and Serbia.[19]

In the early 2010s, U.S. Steel began investing to upgrade software programs throughout their manufacturing facilities.[20]

On May 2, 2014, U.S. Steel announced an undisclosed number of layoffs affecting employees worldwide.[21] On July 2, 2014, U.S. Steel was removed from S&P 500 index and placed in the S&P MidCap 400 Index in light of its declining market capitalization.[6]


U.S. Steel maintained the labor policies of Andrew Carnegie, which called for low wages and opposition to unionization. The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers union that represented workers at the Homestead, Pennsylvania, 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, Indiana in 1906, and 100 years later it remained the location of the largest integrated steel mill in the Northern Hemisphere. U.S. Steel reached 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.[22]

Heavy pressure from public opinion forced the Company to give up its 12-hour day and adopt the standard eight hour day.[23] 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. 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, Michigan, and convinced that Lewis was someone he could deal with on a businesslike basis, Taylor sought stability through collective bargaining.[24][25]

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.[26][27]

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.[28]

U.S. Steel and the other employers terminated the ENA in 1984. In 1986, U.S. Steel employees stopped work after a dispute over contract terms, characterized by the company as a strike and by the union as a lockout. In a letter to striking employees in 1986, Johnston warned, "There are not enough seats in the steel lifeboat for everybody."[29] 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.[30]

Environmental record

During the 1948 Donora smog, an air inversion trapped industrial effluent (air pollution) from the American Steel and Wire plant and U.S. Steel's Donora Zinc Works in Donora, Pennsylvania. "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 lived 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." [31] 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.

Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute have ranked U.S. Steel as the eighth-greatest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States (down from their 2000 ranking as the second-greatest).[32] In 2008, the company released more than one million kg (2.2 million pounds) of toxins, chiefly ammonia, hydrochloric acid, ethylene, zinc compounds, methanol, and benzene, but including manganese, cyanide, and chromium compounds.[33] In 2004, the city of River Rouge, Michigan and the residents of River Rouge and the nearby city of Ecorse filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for "the release and discharge of air particulate matter...and other toxic and hazardous substances"[34] at its River Rouge plant.[35]

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, Pennsylvania, 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 hydrocarbons and trichloroethylene (TCE).[36] In 2005, the EPA, United States Department of Justice, and the State of Ohio 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.[37] U.S. Steel's Gary, Indiana facility has been repeatedly charged with discharging polluted wastewater into Lake Michigan and the Grand Calumet River, and in 1998 agreed to a $30 million settlement to clean up contaminated sediments from a five-mile (8 km) stretch of the river.[38]

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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is named after the company and since 1970, the company's offices take up a part of the building. It is the tallest skyscraper in the downtown Pittsburgh skyline.[39] New York City's One Liberty Plaza was also built by the corporation as that city's U.S. Steel Tower in 1973.[40]

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."[41] The logo was used as part of a major marketing campaign to educate consumers about how important steel is in people's 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.[42]

Disney's Contemporary Resort built by U.S. Steel

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.[43]

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.[44]

The "Steelmark" logo, originated by U.S. Steel

U.S. Steel financed and constructed the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York for the 1964 World's Fair. It is the largest globe ever made and is one of the world's largest free standing sculptures.[45][46]

The Chicago Picasso sculpture was fabricated by U.S. Steel in Gary, Indiana, before being disassembled and relocated to Chicago.[47] U.S. Steel donated the steel for the cathedral of St. Michael's in Chicago since 90 percent of the parishioners worked at its mills.[48]

U.S. Steel sponsored The United States Steel Hour television program from 1945 until 1963 on CBS. U.S. Steel built both the Disney's Contemporary Resort[49][50][51] and the Disney's Polynesian Resort in 1971 at Walt Disney World, in part to showcase its residential steel building "modular" products to high-end and luxury consumers.[52]

U.S. Steel was also involved with Florida real estate development including building beachfront condominiums during the 1970s, such as Sand Key near Daytona Beach, Florida.[53][54][55]

In the film The Godfather Part II, Hyman Roth tells Michael Corleone, "Michael, we're bigger than U.S. Steel". The statement was a paraphrase of longtime Mob kingpin Meyer Lansky.[56]


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 dividend as of 2008 was $0.30 per share.[57] On Apr. 27, 2009, it was reduced to $0.05 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.[58]


U.S. Steel has multiple domestic and international facilities.[59] Of note in the United States is Clairton Works, Edgar Thomson Works, and Irvin Plant, which are all members of Mon Valley Works[60] just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Clairton Works is the largest coking facility in North America. Edgar Thomson Works 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, Michigan.

Ovens and mill building of the Edgar Thomson works, as of the mid-1990s

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

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

U.S. Steel acquired National Steel[disambiguation needed] and subsequently operates Great Lakes Works in Ecorse, Michigan, Midwest Plant in Portage, Indiana, and Granite City Steel in Granite City, Illinois. In 2008 a major expansion of Granite City was announced, including a new coke plant with an annual capacity of 650,000 tons.[61]

U.S. Steel operates five pipe mills: Fairfield Tubular Operations in Fairfield, Alabama (Birmingham), Lorain Tubular Operations in Lorain, Ohio, McKeesport Tubular Operations, in McKeesport, PA, Texas Operations (Formerly Lone Star Steel) in Lone Star, TX, and Bellville Operations in Bellville, TX.

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, Minnesota and the Keetac mine is near Keewatin, Minnesota. 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.[62]

U.S. Steel has completely closed two of its major integrated mills. The Duluth Works in Duluth, Minnesota closed in 1987, followed by South Chicago's South Works in 1992.

Internationally, U.S. Steel operates facilities in Slovakia (former East Slovakian Iron Works in Košice). It also operated facilities in Serbia - former Sartid with facilities in Smederevo (steel plant, hot and cold mill) and Šabac (tin mill).[63] By the end of January 2012, U.S. Steel sold its loss making Serbian mills outside Belgrade to the Serbian government.[64]

Recently, U.S. Steel added facilities in Texas with the purchase of Lone Star Steel Company, entered a venture in Pittsburg, California with POSCO of South Korea, and purchased Stelco (now U.S. Steel Canada) to expand into the Canadian market, with works in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ontario.

The company opened a new training facility, the Mon Valley Works Training Hub, in Duquesne, Pennsylvania in 2008. The state-of-the-art facility, located on a portion of the property once occupied by the company's Duquesne Works, serves as the primary training site for employees at U.S. Steel's three Pittsburgh-area Mon Valley Works locations. This site also served as the company's temporary technical support headquarters during the 2009 G20 Summit.[65]

Northampton & Bath Railroad

U.S. Steel once owned the Northampton & Bath Railroad.[66] The N&B was an 11-kilometer (6.8 mi) short line railroad built in 1904 that served Atlas Cement in Northampton, Pennsylvania, and Keystone Cement in Bath, Pennsylvania.[67] By 1979 cement shipments had dropped off such that the railroad was no longer economically viable and the line was abandoned. A 1.5-kilometer (0.93 mi) section of track was retained to serve Atlas Cement. The remainder of the right-of-way was transformed into the Nor-Bath Trail.[68]

Presidents and CEOs

See also


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External links