GRANITE CITY, IL (KPLR) – The Union representing steel workers in Granite City believes Tuesday’s announcement that approximately 220 jobs will be reinstated is the result of international trade agreements being enforced.
U.S. Steel announced the workers will return to the hot strip mill in Granite City where steel from other plants is brought and processed. The processing work is expected to begin in February, but workers are expected to be back on the job sooner to set up production and go through a training period.
Dan Simmons is President of the United Steel Workers Local 1899. He says times are tough for local steelworkers. More than 2,000 were laid off approximately a year ago.
“Seldom a day goes by that I don’t have an individual walk through here that needs some financial assistance,” said Simmons. “It’s bad.”
Simmons said the U.S. steel industry successfully challenged what he calls “steel dumping” from foreign countries. He said foreign companies can receive such big subsidies from their government giving them an unfair competitive advantage. Simmons said cases can take years to be heard. He and other Granite City leaders went to Washington D.C. in March to protest how long it was taking for the International Trade Commission to rule on cases.
“You actually have to show harm before you can actually bring a case, and so you’ve already been hurt and plants have been devastated,” said Simmons.
He said the recent ruling that trade deals were violated will give U.S. steel workers a more level playing field.
“Well its 200 families now that are going to have a good Christmas. They know they’re going to be back to work and know they’re not going to be sitting not knowing where they’re next check comes from,” said Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnauer.
He is cautiously optimistic the news could lead to more recalls.
“We’re still not back to making steel, and that’s where we want to be,” said Hagnauer.