U.S. Steel Granite City Works | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Steel Granite City Works

U.S. Steel Lays Off Non-Union Workers In Granite City Due To ‘Challenging Market’

Nov 11, 2019
A U.S. Steel worker watches as a slab of steel moves through the production process.
Derik Holtmann | Belleville News-Democrat

GRANITE CITY — An undisclosed number of non-union employees at Granite City’s U.S Steel plant have been laid off.

In a statement U.S. Steel spokesperson Amanda Malkowski said the layoffs were due to “challenging market conditions.”

David Burks mans the Salvation Army's red kettle outside the Walmart store in Granite City.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Salvation Army bell-ringer David Burks was making a joyful noise in front of the Granite City Walmart on a recent Friday morning. He greeted everyone who passed his red kettle, whether they dropped in pennies or a folded dollar bill or hurried by without a glance.

“You have a good day now. Thank you, and God bless you.”

The fundraising goal for the Granite City Salvation Army is $88,000 this Christmas season, and it will take thousands of drops in the buckets to get there. The Salvation Army says its trademark red kettle campaign is as important as ever because many have been left behind by the nation's rebounding economy.

Granite City native Jason Fernandez, who serves as vice president of Local 1899, was laid off 10 years ago during the Great Recession.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After a two-year wait for jobs to come back, steelworkers threw an old-fashioned street party on Saturday, just blocks from U.S. Steel’s Granite City plant.

It was a “fire up” party to celebrate 500 people finally going back to work to start up a blast furnace that was idled in December 2015, said Dan Simmons, president of United Steelworkers Local 1899.

Granite City steel plant on July 20, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Steelworkers are about to start making steel again at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works — and they’re throwing a street party on Saturday to celebrate.

In March, U.S. Steel announced that it was restarting one of its two blast furnaces at the plant and would recall about 500 steelworkers. They were laid off in December 2015 when the company idled its steelmaking facilities in Granite City.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 19, 2009 - The good news continues in Granite City, where about 600 laid-off steelworkers will be back at work by Tuesday as the re-opened U.S. Steel plant continues to ramp up to make steel again.

The mood of the workers is "ecstatic,'' said Dan Simmons, president of Local 1899 of the United Steelworkers that represents the majority of the workers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 12, 2009 - About 30 or 40 laid-off steelworkers should be back on the job early next week as U.S. Steel's Granite City Works plans to resume at least limited operations, according to Dave Dowling, a spokesman for the local United Steelworkers.

Dowling said that the presidents of union locals were unexpectedly called to a meeting with U.S. Steel management Friday morning and told that operations would begin at the plant as soon as possible. Maintenance workers will be among the first to be called back and should be notified over the weekend.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 8, 2009 - In good times, Gateway Regional Medical Center is Granite City's third-largest employer, but recent layoffs in the steel industry have bumped the 950-employee facility into first place -- a distinction CEO Damon Brown noted during a recent interview.

The hope is that the move-up in the rankings will be short-lived.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 1, 2009 - Last hired in, first to be laid off.

That was the reality for a group of laid-off United Steelworkers who were furloughed during the first wave of steel industry cuts in Granite City last November. Their job now is to guide 2,000 of their colleagues to agencies and programs that can help them write resumes, sign up for training programs or find emergency financial help with their utility bills or groceries at local pantries.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - The day after U.S. Steel announced worse-than-expected first-quarter losses, Russ Saltsgaver, 51, was in a third-floor office at the Tri-Cities Labor Temple in Granite City, giving one of his last media interviews as president of United Steelworkers Local 1899.

Union members last week elected a new leader; Dan Simmons takes office in May.