GJ Steel to close; 100 to lose jobs
Hirschfeld Industries, which purchased Grand Junction Steel two years ago, is closing the plant, eliminating nearly 100 jobs in Grand Junction.
Executives with Hirschfeld on Tuesday told employees at Grand Junction Steel of the decision, the San Angelo, Texas-based Hirschfeld said in a news release.
Hirschfeld CEO Dennis Hirschfeld said in the release the move would “streamline our manufacturing operations and optimize our steel-bridge fabrication activities.”
Company officials informed the United Steelworkers of America that the Grand Junction plant will close its doors at the former Grand Junction Steel plant, said Ron Holloway, of the Colorado office of the union.
He said he considered the call to be a 60-day notice of closure, as required by the union contract.
The company “was unable to get any bids and consequently would be closing,” Holloway said.
Hirschfeld Vice President Doug Ames seemed “genuinely concerned about the employees,” Holloway said.
The timing is particularly difficult for Grand Junction Steel employees because of the slowdown reflected in the surrounding energy industry, Holloway said.
“It’s not a good time to be losing a job,” he said.
Closing Grand Junction Steel on the cusp of an economic stimulus package aimed at improving the nation’s infrastructure might seem to be unusual, said Georgeann Jouflas, professor of business at Mesa State College, “but from what I can tell of the business, steel bridges are not competing with concrete” structures. “The industry is changing to a different technology.”
Grand Junction Steel has long been a fixture in the Grand Valley economy. Founded in 1947, Grand Junction Steel was a steel-bridge and specialty girder-manufacturing facility for Hirschfeld.
Market demand for specialty tub girders, which are used in constructing bridges, was limited in 2008 and failed to improve in 2009, the company said.
“We are saddened by the circumstances which have brought about the decision” to close the plant, Dennis Hirschfeld said.
The company said it will continue to operate steel-bridge fabrication plants in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Texas and serve the western United States from those locations.