GRANITE CITY, Ill. — The Granite City Labor Day Parade brought Metro East union workers together with their families to celebrate the hard work that means so much to them.
“Showing our strength within our jobs, fighting for what's fair for workers within the community. I'm part of Local 2887 out of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, I'm the President. And it's very important to stand up for workers' rights. Workers aren't always treated fairly and we are the backstop to that,” Julie Latempt-Brazier said.
Steelworkers at US Steel in Local 1899 are currently fighting for a new contract.
“If we can't reach a contract, which we have done in the past, we were idle the last time we went through bargaining and this membership 100% stood up for a strike. I'm telling US Steel now that they can expect the same if that's what they want. They want to fight, we're ready to give them a fight,” Local 1899 President Dan Simmons said.
Contract negotiations come at a time when their jobs are already being threatened with possible layoffs of nearly a thousand people.
“After 130 plus years, they're talking about shutting down the steel side within a couple of years and making strictly pig iron for electric arc furnaces,” Simmons said.
Simmons says it’s extremely hard on the families.
“What people don't realize, one steel worker job supports seven other jobs with our vendors and other people that support the actual mill itself that work outside of that,” Simmons said.
Simmons says the support they’ve received from other unions and the community means a lot.
“We are always in support of other locals and our brothers and sisters who are working hard to keep their jobs,” Latempt-Brazier said.
Right now, Simmons said they're focused on the contract and doing everything in their power to provide for their members and families.
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