Fewer layoffs expected during shutdown of Virginia mine
The looming shutdown of the Minorca Mine near Virginia may not result in as many layoffs as feared. Ray Pierce, president of United Steelworkers Local 6115, said it appears that about half of the mine's 303 workers represented by his union should...
The looming shutdown of the Minorca Mine near Virginia may not result in as many layoffs as feared.
Ray Pierce, president of United Steelworkers Local 6115, said it appears that about half of the mine's 303 workers represented by his union should be able to retain employment when the facility ceases production of iron ore pellets May 10. In all, he expects that 157 workers will be kept on to tackle maintenance tasks before Minorca resumes production in early August, assuming market conditions improve.
"We have worked very closely with the United Steelworkers and its members at the Minorca Mine on developing the work lists and determining the manpower requirements for the maintenance shutdown," said Adam Warrington, a spokesman for ArcelorMittal, the mine's owner.
Pierce, too, said there has been excellent cooperation between his union and ArcelorMittal.
The union continues to seek members willing to take time off during the shutdown. In all, 136 people will be temporarily out of work at the mine and pellet plant.
Pierce explained that people with fewer than two years seniority -- about 46 union steelworkers at the mine -- could lose health benefits during a layoff under the terms of the union's contract. Pierce said a number of members with more seniority are stepping forward to take voluntary time off rather than seeing younger co-workers lose their health coverage.
Pierce said he is optimistic that many of the more junior workers' jobs can be retained, allowing them to preserve benefits.