The Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation resulted from the June 1968 merger of the Wheeling Steel and Pittsburgh Steel companies. Wheeling-Pitt, as it is commonly called, manufactures a wide variety of rolled steel products for industry, construction, highway and bridge building, and agriculture. With its corporate headquarters in the former Schmulbach Building in downtown Wheeling, Wheeling-Pitt was a major factor in the economy of the Upper Ohio Valley, but its fortunes have declined in recent years.
In the last quarter of the 20th century, the American steel industry steadily declined, and Wheeling-Pitt closed its works at Benwood, then sold off its La Belle Nail Works, and endured two Chapter 11 bankruptcies. There was a long, bitter labor strike in 1996–97, as union workers attempted to regain pension benefits given up during one of these bankruptcies. The company emerged from the second bankruptcy early in the 21st century, completed construction of an electric arc furnace, and experienced a significant rise in its stock prices.
Control of Wheeling-Pitt has changed in recent years. In 2006, Wheeling-Pitt was taken over by the Illinois company Esmark. In 2008, the Russian steelmaker Severstal acquired the Wheeling-Pittsburgh mills, along with its Wheeling Corrugating Co., when it purchased Esmark. In March 2011, Severstal sold Wheeling-Pitt, and several other operations, to a family-owned private equity firm called Renco Group Inc. The transaction also included Wheeling Corrugating in Wheeling; facilities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland; and a 50 percent ownership of Mountain State Carbon, a coke plant in Follansbee. In May 2012, RG Steel, a subsidiary of Renco, filed for bankruptcy and indicated that it planned to idle Wheeling-Pitt, along with two other American plants.
This Article was written by David T. Javersak
Last Revised on May 31, 2012
Boyd, Peter. History of the Northern West Virginia Panhandle. Topeka: Historical Pub. Co., 1927.
May, Earl C. Principio to Wheeling: A Pageant of Iron and Steel. New York & London: Harper & Brothers, 1945.
Stamp, Andy. "W-P Completes a Significant Year." Supplement to the Intelligencer & News-Register. 2/24/2005.