Iowa WORKS hosted an informational meeting for displaced Sivyer Steel workers Thursday morning. The steel workers formerly employed by Sivyer Steel have been unemployed since the fire Sept. 18 at the factory.
“We had probably 75% of the membership here today,” said Patrick Stock, president of the United Steelworkers 105 Union. “I haven’t heard of anyone who has gotten a new job yet, but we’re hopeful that they have.”
Stock and his union members still seek new jobs weeks after the fire at Sivyer Steel in Bettendorf. “You know this is the community pulling together to help people that are displaced from a terrible fire,” Stock said. “And it’s a great thing that the Quad Cities can come together and try to offer help where we can.”
IowaWORKS offered assistance to displaced union members, however most union members are still searching for new jobs. “We had John Deere laying off many people, then we had our fire right next to that so it was a little hard for them to find jobs,” said Agustin Martinez, a union member for United Steelworkers 105. “There are some that are struggling just because they’ve done a certain kind of job for so many years, because we have people out here that have been here for 30 to 40 years.”
Just a couple of days after Sivyer Steel went up in flames, John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline laid off 225 production workers.
Bill Polley, director of business intelligence from the Quad Cities Chamber, says layoffs with John Deere Harvester Works, and Sivyer Steel will “probably not” have a large effect on the unemployment rate in the Quad Cities. “We saw the unemployment rate increase over the summer a little bit, relative to the national average,” he said. “Some of that is just the seasonal fluctuations, and the manufacturing economy nationwide has been slowing down a little bit more than say hospitality, leisure, and services.”
The United Steelworkers union president says members of his union have received job interests in other states. Polley says this will also not affect local jobs in the Quad Cities. “We never like to see people leave the area, and the local economy. That number of jobs are not going to have a large impact in the total employment and unemployment numbers and the total population in the quad cities area.”