Job training and counseling will be available to the thousands of steel workers who will be laid off soon from U.S. Steel’s Granite City plant.
Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan and Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnauer on Monday announced a plan to provide assistance for the 2,080 workers who will be laid off by May 28. U.S. Steel Corp. announced the layoffs and the temporary closure of the Granite City steel mill last month. The steel plant’s idling and layoffs are due to falling crude oil prices and cheaper foreign steel imports that have flooded and weakened the domestic market.
Madison County Employment and Training is working with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and local workforce investment areas to form a rapid response team to provide services and assistance for the soon-to-be displaced workers. Services will include help in finding insurance, unemployment compensation and job retraining.
Details on when and where the job training and counseling would be available still are being worked out, the two leaders said.
Hagnauer said more than 39 percent of steel workers employed at the plant live in Granite City, Pontoon Beach and Mitchell. He anticipates the layoffs will also impact restaurants, retailers and other businesses in the region.
Hagnauer said he does not know how long the steel plant will be shut down but wants steel workers to be prepared.
“We want our people to be preparing for this so our guys will have an opportunity to retrain and be ready,” Hagnauer said.
Dunstan released a statement that said the plant’s shutdown will also impact 3,000 additional local workers whose jobs feed off the mill. He said the steel workers have clauses in their contract that financially assists workers during plant shutdowns.
“We are concerned for all the workers and their families, but especially for the employees at the trucking companies, railroads and other businesses that rely on the Granite City plant for a significant portion of their business,” Dunstan said.
“Those workers, many of whom do not have any type of safety net, likely will need help while the plant is idled, and we’re going to do everything we can to help them.”