Layoffs at Granite City Works

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When a person loses their job, the financial strain can be paralyzing. Lately, tough economic conditions have caused companies to reduce costs and make more frequent layoffs.

The “temporary” shutdown of U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works that was recently announced sent a shockwave of distress over the 2,000 workers that will soon face layoff and the city that relies on that mill.

This move comes with the plummeting oil prices that have hit the United States second largest steelmaker with a punch to the gut. A large portion of Granite City steel is used to produce pipes for the oil industry at the Lone Star Tubular plant in Texas. Drilling pipe demand is quickly falling.

The United Steelworkers Union and U.S. Steel also blame the problem on imported steel. They claim it is being unfairly “dumped” on the United States market. They have been dealt a devastating blow by a big wave of Chinese imports.

The Granite City plant issued layoff notices to 2,080 workers. The layoffs take effect on May 28th. The employees have been told the shutdown is just temporary. How long the layoffs will last is not known at this time. It really depends on the conditions of the steel market.

The mayor of Granite City learned about the plant shut down in a call from a plant manager. The company was holding on to hope that the layoffs wouldn’t happen. The mayor hopes that things will change in the next 2 months. It depends on steel orders coming into the plant. The steelworkers union also hoped that the layoffs would be cancelled.

It is the hope that the steel market can recover and that the jobs of the workers at the Granite City plant can be saved. A 60-day layoff notice is required by law when a company is expecting a mass layoff. The bad news is that an analyst has said that steel imports are not expected to moderate until the latter half of 2015, which means a cancelation of the Granite City layoffs is not likely to happen before the May 28th deadline.

Low oil prices and the increased rise in imported steel have caused adverse conditions in the steel market. America’s capacity for steelmaking is currently at 70%, the lowest level seen in many years. What this means is that our steel mills are only making 70% of what they are capable of making.

At the Granite City plant, the workers are trying to stay optimistic that they will get to go back to work, even if they won’t be getting a paycheck for a while. A caster used to shape steel into slabs is being installed in the plant and is expected to be finished in June. Money is not being wasted on the new caster. It is being seen as a sign that this plant does indeed have a future.

With Granite City Works being the largest employer in the Metro East, the shutdown will have a huge impact across the St. Louis region. There are other businesses that are connected to the steel industry like trucking companies and businesses that help to maintain the planet. The shutdown will have a domino effect beyond the plant workers who are being laid off.

If you have lost your job and are struggling to make ends meet, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the solution for you. You need to talk to a Southern Illinois bankruptcy attorney about your options.

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