Two weeks after nearly 500 steelworkers from U.S. Steel and Republic Steel in Lorain learned they were facing lay off's over the next month a group of them gathered at the Local 1104 Union Hall with Union and elected leaders to discuss their options going forward.
The roundtable discussion was put on by former governor and current Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Ted Strickland.
"This is an example of really hard working people in a wonderful community that have done everything by the book, they've played by the rules," said Strickland. "They produced good products and by no fault of their own they're finding themselves without a job, facing a very uncertain future."
Uncertain for them and for the steel industry as a whole said several of those in attendance.
"It''s about national security. What are we going to do if we really do get into a shooting war," said on mean. "Call China and ask them to send us over steel to build a ship? I don't think so."
Another woman talked of the trickle down impact that these closures have on the community.
"When a union job gets lost the odds are that a home gets foreclosed on that affects everyone in that neighborhood," she said. "Each small community here loses tax dollars that helps them with their safety forces and their schools. We need to get this message out to everyone."
At that time, Strickland released this statement regarding the job cuts:
As the son of a steelworker, my heart goes out to these folks, their families and the community of Lorain. This is another tragic example of how our working people are bearing the consequences when those in Washington like Senator Portman repeatedly vote for bad trade deals that send our jobs to places like China. Senator Portman votes this way because he doesn’t understand the struggles that working people are facing just to get by — and because he’s part of the Washington establishment that is looking out for their own interests instead of ours. I’ve voted against every bad trade deal, and as governor I fought for the auto-rescue and to create the next generation of clean energy infrastructure in Ohio because I know that these kinds of jobs are the bedrock of our middle class economy. In the U.S Senate I will continue to put working people first — that’s where I come from and those are the folks I care about.
Strickland met with elected officials, steelworkers and community members Wednesday at USW Local 1104.