Granite City U.S. Steel workers question if alternative jobs exist if steel mill closes

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) -Nearly 1,000 jobs could be lost following a potential closure of the U.S. Steel Plant in Granite City.

950 jobs would be cut in if the deal goes through, according to U.S. Steel. Those workers and union leaders tell News 4 there aren’t enough similar jobs in the Granite City area for those affected workers to rebound.

The company is planning to sell the blast furnaces to SunCoke Energy, so it could repurpose the blast furnaces in Granite City and switch to a different type of production for something called pig iron. U.S. Steel’s release said the transition is not expected to impact immediate staffing levels at Granite City Steel.

The project is expected to take two years.

“I was distraught it was absolutely terrible,” said Andrew Carnahan, a Granite City U.S. Steel worker. “I was born and raised here in Granite City. The company is showing record profits and they show thanks to the workers by getting rid of us. Unfortunately, this is kind of the only show in town, and we understand the reality of that. I just had a baby about five months ago, and I was looking forward to staying here--raising my family.”

“This is tragic for these families,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis Inc., an economic development company. “I know these people. I sit here in this chair today because of the work that the men and women at that plant did to give me a better life.”

Hall told News 4 he has three generations of family who’ve worked for U.S. Steel.

On Thursday, Hall sent a letter to the company’s CEO, David Burritt, who’s a St. Louis native, asking to meet.

“We can win these. There are wins wins, but it requires people coming to the table to find them,” Hall added. “While there are a lot of options, and we’re proud to keep growing and bringing more of those businesses too this community, we’re going to fight like heck to make sure that we save these jobs.”