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United States Steel Corporation

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United States Steel Corporation

United States Steel Corporation
Traded as S&P 500 Component
Industry Steel
Founded 1901 by merger/buyout of Carnegie Steel
Elbert Gary
William Moore
J. P. Morgan
Headquarters U.S. Steel Tower
United States
Area served Worldwide
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$ 17.374 billion (2010)[3]
Operating income Increase US$ -385 million (2010)[3]
Net income Increase US$ -482 million (2010)[3]
Total assets Increase US$ 15.350 billion (2010)[3]
Total equity Decrease US$ 3.851 billion (2010)[3]
Employees 42,000 (2010)[3]

The United States Steel Corporation (

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]



J. P. Morgan and the attorney Elbert H. Gary founded U.S. Steel in 1901 (incorporated on February 25) by combining Andrew Carnegie's Carnegie Steel Company with Gary's Federal Steel Company and William Henry "Judge" Moore's National Steel Company[6] for $492 million ($13.95 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 ($39.69 billion today),[4] making it the world's first billion-dollar corporation.[7] The company headquarters was established in 1901 in the Empire Building, purchased from the estate of Orlando B. Potter for $5 million.[8] 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. 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. 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 John F. Kennedy was more successful in 1962 when he pressured the steel industry into reversing price increases that Kennedy considered dangerously inflationary.

Evolution to USX

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] US Steel finally acquired National Steel's assets in 2003 after National Steel went bankrupt. U.S. Steel acquired Marathon Oil on January 7, 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.

Corporate Raider Carl Icahn launched a hostile takeover of the steel giant in late 1986 and proceeded to have proxy battles with shareholders and management until abandoning all efforts to buy the company out on January 8, 1987.

Modern era

At the end of the 20th 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.[10]

In the early 2010s U.S. Steel has invested "hundreds of millions" to upgrade software programs throughout their manufacturing facilities.[11]


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, 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. 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.[12]

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."[13] 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

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 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 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." [14] 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).[15] 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.[16] 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"[17] at its River Rouge plant.[18] In 2005, the Illinois Attorney General brought suit against U.S. Steel for alleged air pollution in Granite City, Illinois.[19]

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 hydrocarbon and trichloroethylene (TCE).[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]

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 1976, the company's offices take up a part of the building. It is the tallest skyscraper in the downtown Pittsburgh skyline.

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."[23] 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.

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.

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.

U.S. Steel financed and constructed the Unisphere in 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.

The Chicago Picasso 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 from 1945 until 1963 on CBS. U.S. Steel built both the Disney's Contemporary Resort and the Disney's Polynesian Resort in 1971 at Walt Disney World, in part to showcase its residential steel building "modular" residential products to high-end and luxury consumers.

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.


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.[24] 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.[25]


U.S. Steel has multiple domestic and international facilities.[26] Of note in the United States is Clairton Works, Edgar Thomson Works, and Irvin Works. All members of Mon Valley Works and 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.

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 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.[27]

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.[28]

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) and Serbia - former Sartid with facilities in Smederevo (steel plant, hot and cold mill) and Šabac (tin mill).[29] By the end of January 2012, U.S.Steel sells its loss making Serbian mills outside Belgrade to the Serbian government.[30]

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.[31]

Northampton & Bath Railroad

U.S. Steel once owned the Northampton & Bath Railroad.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34]

Presidents & CEOs[35]

  • Elbert Henry Gary 1901-August 15, 1927
  • James A. Farrell August 15, 1927-April 18, 1932
  • William Irvin April 19, 1932-January 1, 1938[36]
  • Benjamin Franklin Fairless January 1, 1938-May 3, 1955[37]
  • Roger Blough May 3, 1955-January 31, 1969[38]
  • Edwin H. Gott January 31, 1969-March 1, 1973[39]
  • Edgar B. Speer March 1, 1973-April 24, 1979[40]
  • David M. Roderick April 24, 1979-May 31, 1989[41]
  • Charles A. Corry May 31, 1989-1995[42]
  • Thomas Usher 1995-October 1, 2004
  • John Surma October 1, 2004-September 1, 2013[43]
  • Mario Longhi September 1, 2013-present[44]

See also



  • Meade, Edward Sherwood. "The Genesis of the United States Steel Corporation," Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Aug., 1901), pp. 517–550 in JSTOR
  • Meade, Edward Sherwood. "Capitalization of the United States Steel Corporation," Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Feb., 1902), pp. 214–232 in JSTOR

External links

Pittsburgh portal
Companies portal
  • U.S. Steel
  • United Steelworkers
  • Yahoo! — United States Steel Corporation Company Profile
  • Documentary Photographs of U.S. Steel from the 1940s and 1950s
  • Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentation:
    • HAER No. PA-49, "U.S. Steel Corporation, Clairton Works"
    • HAER No. PA-49-A, "U.S. Steel Corporation, Clairton Works, Blast Furnace Blowing Engine Building"
    • HAER No. PA-49-B, "U.S. Steel Corporation, Clairton Works, 14-Inch Mill Engines No. 1 & No. 2"
    • HAER No. PA-49-C, "U.S. Steel Corporation, Clairton Works, 22-Inch Mill Engine"
    • HAER No. PA-115, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works"
    • HAER No. PA-115-A, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, Blast Furnace Plant"
    • HAER No. PA-115-B, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, Basic Oxygen Steelmaking Plant"
    • HAER No. PA-115-C, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, Electric Furnace Steelmaking Plant"
    • HAER No. PA-115-D, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, Primary Mill"
    • HAER No. PA-115-E, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, Fuel & Utilities Plant"
    • HAER No. PA-115-F, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, Auxiliary Buildings & Shops"
    • HAER No. PA-115-G, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, 22-Inch Bar Mill"
    • HAER No. PA-115-H, "U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, Heat Treatment Plant"
  • U.S. Steel Gary Works Photograph Collection, 1906-1971
  • U.S. Steel Movie clip of the Contemporary Resort Construction, compliments of
  • BigFloridaCountry
  • The "World's Largest Plate Mill," formerly a part of U.S. Steel-Gary Works
  • Wayback Machine
  • History of the United States Steel Corporation, 1873-2011
  • Guide to United States Steel Corporation. Training manuals. 5342. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.
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