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Hoffman, Beiser working to extend unemployment benefits for laid-off steel workers


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, and state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, passed a bill out of the House Labor and Commerce Committee Tuesday that will extend unemployment insurance benefits for laid-off employees of the U.S. Steel mill in Granite City.

“Putting the employees of the steel mill back to work is still the top priority, but until that happens, we will continue working to provide any relief that is available,” Hoffman said. “Right now, that means extending unemployment insurance benefits for workers and their families.”

Hoffman, who is chairman of the Labor and Commerce Committee is sponsoring House Bill 6594, which provides additional unemployment insurance benefits to Granite City Steel workers who have been laid off due to illegal dumping of foreign steel into U.S. markets. Under current law, laid-off workers can receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. In order to provide relief for workers and their families, Hoffman and Beiser are working to extend the benefit period to a total of 52 weeks.

“As long as there is an action I can take, I will always fight for working families in the Metro East,” Beiser said. “In the case of the steel mill in Granite City, that means getting workers much needed relief and continuing the fight to end the illegal dumping of foreign steel, urging federal officials to get rid of bad trade deals, and getting people back to work.”

The U.S. Steel mill in Granite City has idled its operations and laid off approximately 2,000 workers due largely to the illegal flood of cheap foreign steel into the United States. In addition to working to extend unemployment benefits, Hoffman and Beiser are urging Congress, the President, and other federal authorities to take action against trade practices that disadvantage American workers.

“We are doing everything we can to get our operations up and running again and put people back to work,” said Jason Chism, president of United Steelworkers Local 50. “Until that happens, we will continue to work with our local elected officials in order to do everything we can for the workers of the mill here in Granite City.”

— From the Illinois Business Journal

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