EDWARDSVILLE — The new Madison County Board chairman and a local congressman both offered words of praise Tuesday for U.S. Steel’s announced plans to bring back some laid-off workers to run the hot mill strip at the Granite City Works.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said the company will bring back roughly 227 workers who were laid off in January 2016, part of an estimated 2,000 workers who were affected overall by layoffs.
“This is great news for many Granite City employees and their families,” said Davis. “Good-paying, manufacturing jobs like these are critical to our economy and to many trying to achieve the American Dream. There is no doubt that trading with other countries leads to job creation but we need to do a better job of enforcing these deals so countries like China are not breaking the rules and putting American workers at a disadvantage.”
Davis introduced the American Trade Enforcement Effectiveness Act in response to American companies like U.S. Steel being put at a disadvantage because countries like China “are cheating the system and break our trade laws.” The bill was included as part of a larger trade package that was signed into law last year. It aims to strengthen enforcement provisions against illegal trade practices such as the dumping of foreign products like steel into U.S. markets.
“Since we were successful in passing stronger trade enforcement provisions last year, the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled in favor of American steel companies several times to help level the playing field for American workers. However, more can be done and I’m looking forward to working with President-elect Trump on this issue,” Davis said.
Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler praised the decision to reopen the hot strip mill at its Granite City Works.
“For the more than 200 employees, it’s an answer to prayers before Christmas,” Prenzler said.
Prenzler said he attended a Southwestern Illinois Employers Association meeting last week and there was discussion about U.S. Steel. He said business and industry professionals seem more confident in the economy.
“We should remember that there are still hundreds of employees without work, but this is a good start for Granite City and its steelworkers,” he said.
Key units at the steel works other than the hot strip mill remain idled, the company said.
— From the Illinois Business Journal