Lone Star Steel halting production

By Lakecia Shockley - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Local businesses are continuing to feel the pinch of the tough economy. The latest to feel the strain is Lone Star Steel, one of the biggest employers in East Texas, and it's really bad news for hundreds of workers.

United Steel Workers Union President Randy Dean says the company will be halting production by the end of the month. He has no idea when exactly production will begin again.

For now, spared workers are still left manning pipesor, but steel workers laid off in the last few weeks told us they knew that a day like this one was coming.

"This is my third time getting laid off since I've been here with the company and you know, it's like a yo-yo up and down up and down and then it's slow coming up," said Alvoid Walker, Jr. who has been with the company for six years. "You get laid off, they cut your money off but your bills are steady coming in."

"Well, their telling us a couple of weeks which I hope that's what it is and I've started a website business at home so maybe that will help once I get it going," said Lynn Gray.

As union officials scramble to assist laid off workers, they wouldn't interview on camera but they did give us a statement on how the mill's halt in production will affect 892 union workers.

"Probably by the end of February those numbers will be 750 laid off from the 892 and it's going to be up and down for a while," said Randy Dean. "We're going to work a while and be off a while."

Because of the temporary layoffs, workers tensions have been high.

"There was actually a fight in the parking lot the last day that everybody worked. I wasn't there but...," said Gray.

For steel workers still on the job...

"We may get it Friday," Jerry Jones. "We don't know we're just taking it one day at a time. One week at a time when the schedule comes out."

Dean said he expects the layoffs to last until US Steel gets enough production orders to bring workers back.