By MELISSA CROCKETT MESKE
News sources throughout the region are reporting U. S. Steel’s announcement today as up to 1,000 employees are expected to be laid off at the Granite City Works steel mill by late January 2024.
Most of U. S. Steel-Granite City Works operations will go on “indefinite idle” as was noted in the WARN notice sent out to over 1,000 workers at the facility. The issuance of the WARN notice was confirmed by both U. S. Steel representatives and Madison County officials.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988 is a U.S. labor law that protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of planned closings and mass layoffs of employees.
The Illinois Business Journal also asked Madison County Employment & Training Director Tony Fuhrmann how his department would be moving forward in working with the employees affected. He said, “With the 400 that were already laid off we worked with the union and held the Rapid Response in Granite City. I would anticipate the same process for the union employees. I haven’t seen the layoff list, but I think it may include non-union as well. We will work with the company to arrange events for those individuals.”
Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) also responded to the news that there would be additional mass layoffs facing employees at the Granite City Works steel plant. Budzinski said, “Two months ago, U.S. Steel handed out pink slips to 400 workers as they blamed the United Auto Workers strike for reduced steel demand. Today, with strong steel prices and operations resumed at the Big Three automakers, U.S. Steel is planning to make these layoffs permanent while putting another 600 jobs on the chopping block. It’s clear that these layoffs were never about the market and always about targeting organized workers. U.S. Steel must be held accountable.
“As U.S. Steel works to close up their union-represented shop in Granite City and move operations to a so-called “right-to-work” state, it’s clear that the company’s executives are more concerned with lining their own pockets than they are with the livelihoods of the workers who have built their company for generations. I will continue to closely monitor U.S. Steel’s Strategic Alternative Review Process as we maintain hopes that an American-owned company with strong labor relations can step in to better serve our highly-skilled workers and the Granite City community,” Budzinski further noted.