December 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Granite, City, IL – Before U.S. Steel announced last December that it was going to lay off three-fourths of the workers at its Granite City Works, the mill provided jobs averaging $64,000 a year to people in this city of 29,000 people across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
Nearly a year after the 1,500 layoffs, “they have not found good, substantial work,” United Steelworkers Local 1899 President Dan Simmons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding that some are taking training to be truck drivers and heating system specialists. “I’m struggling to find a job,” said Casey Ballentine, 29, who had worked at the mill for three years. “I have two little girls at home.” He worked at a lawn service over the summer, but the job ended in October. If the mill doesn’t reopen soon, he added, “it will be a way hard couple of years doing odds-and-ends jobs.” Ballentine voted for Donald Trump for President, saying, “I know he’s against unions, but unions don’t matter if you don’t have a job.” So did Jerry Halbrook, 53, who said he’d always voted Democratic, but “this is the second time I got laid off under the Democrats.” Read more