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Demand key to Granite City steelworkers’ rehiring; tariff order ‘icing on the cake,’ says union rep

Dan Simmons of United Steelworkers Local 1899 discussed what led to the announcement that U.S. Steel will be rehiring as many as 500 Illinois workers – and what’s next for the plant.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio
Dan Simmons of United Steelworkers Local 1899 discussed what led to the announcement that U.S. Steel will be rehiring as many as 500 Illinois workers – and what’s next for the plant.";s:

Ecstatic – that’s the word that Dan Simmons used to describe the mood in Granite City, Illinois, this week.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, the United Steelworkers Local 1899 president joined host Don Marsh to discuss the news that up to 500 workers will return to work at the steel mill around which the town was built.

Simmons noted that about 1,625 employees at the U.S. Steel plant were laid off in December 2015, and this week’s announcement was “long overdue.”

“I’ve been telling these guys for a long time, ‘Fire up,’” he said, “and we’re happy to [see] the smiles of the guys coming up and down my union hall.”

The company’s announcement came on the heels of President Donald Trump’s call for tariffs on imported steel. Trump signed the order on Thursday.

“Would this have happened [without that order]? I’ve been arguing that we were probably there, and [the rehiring] should have happened as we’ve seen an uptick in the demand,” Simmons said. “But the tip of the scale? Absolutely. Icing on the cake? Yes.”

Listen to the full conversation:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Evie is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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