Extension of benefits approved for Granite City steelworkers - KMOV.com

Extension of benefits approved for Granite City steelworkers

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Illinois lawmakers swiftly approved an extension of unemployment benefits for steelworkers in Granite City who have been out of work for nearly a year.

The measure to add 26 weeks of benefits now goes to Governor Bruce Rauner for his signature.

The steel mill in Granite City shut down in late 2015 as demand for U.S. steel declined under a flood of foreign steel in the country.

"The extension is going to help a bunch," said steelworker John Pfalzgraf.

In the past year many of the 1,500 workers in Granite City have struggled to find work, usually at much lesser pay.

"We have once proud steelworkers that are learning how to adapt," said Dan Simmons, president of Steelworkers Union Local 1899.

Simmons says there is hope the mill in Granite City will reopen in 2017.  He says foreign steel in the U.S. is now finally diminishing and demand for steel is on the rise.

"2017 looks to be promising and to us at least there's light at the end of the tunnel," Simmons said.

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