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Export's Dura-Bond plans to lay off 180 at Dauphin County plant

Stephen Huba
| Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, 4:27 p.m.
Dura-Bond Industries President Jason Norris poses for a portrait outside of the Dura-Bond Coating facility on Thursday, February 16, 2017 in Duquesne, Pa.
Jared Wickerham/For The Tribune-Review
Dura-Bond Industries President Jason Norris poses for a portrait outside of the Dura-Bond Coating facility on Thursday, February 16, 2017 in Duquesne, Pa.

Dura-Bond Industries plans to lay off 180 workers at its Steelton plant, officials said.

The Export-based company filed a WARN notice with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, projecting that workers will be affected starting Nov. 15. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 requires employers of a certain size to give 60 days' notice to employees who are going to be laid off.

Dura-Bond President Jason Norris said the layoff will affect workers in the pipe mill and coating mill in Steelton, Dauphin County.

“We have a great workforce, and I feel personally responsible to do what I can to get them back to work,” Norris said.

The layoffs, which constitute about 40 percent of Dura-Bond's workforce, are due to a glut of steel imports from countries such as India and Canada and reduced demand for steel caused by low energy prices, he said.

“We do not have the order backlog to support a two-shift operation any longer,” Norris said, noting that he does not know how long the layoff will last.

The Steelton plant, which Dura-Bond acquired from Bethlehem Steel in 2003, manufactures and coats steel pipe in diameters from 24 to 42 inches, mostly for the natural gas industry. The protective coating facility depends on the manufacturing facility.

Dura-Bond also operates a coating facility in Duquesne, Allegheny County, and plans to open a manufacturing facility at the former U.S. Steel McKeesport Tubular Operations this year. U.S. Steel idled the McKeesport plant in 2014 because of the downturn in the oil and gas industry and the glut of cheap imports from overseas. An estimated 260 people lost their jobs.

This month, Dura-Bond and a coalition of U.S. steel pipe producers sent a letter to President Trump asking him to impose tariffs and take other actions to end the glut of foreign steel.

In the letter, the American Line Pipe Producers Association complained that its members have experienced a decline in market share, production, revenue and employment levels as a result of “distortive” trade practices that have flooded the U.S. market with steel and steel product imports.

“As an industry, we are operating at only about 30 percent capacity. This situation is not sustainable,” the letter said.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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