Local United Steelworkers, along with United Auto Workers and other labor organizations, rallied this morning in support of a President Barack Obama's stimulus plan they hope will create jobs and bring laid-off workers back to their plants.
The crowd marched from United States Steel's idled Granite City Works steel mill in Metro East and end at Amsted Rail. In recent months, large-scale layoffs have been announced at both plants. U.S. Steel said in early December that it would temporarily idle the Granite City Works plant because steel demand has fallen as the construction and automotive sectors have been hurt. More than 1,600 workers from the plant have been laid off. "My members are definitely suffering," said Russ Saltsgaver, president of United Steelworkers Local 1899, which represents most union workers at the Granite City Works plant. "This wasn't something they planned or knew was coming." Five men dressed to represent financial companies that received bailout money late last year. They walked near a casket that had "American middle class" on the side. A man walking with a loudspeaker said: "Are we going to let Wall Street bankers bury the middle class?" Saltsgaver expected at least 2,000 were at the march.