Friday, December 20, 2019

LANSING — U.S. Steel announced yesterday that it would indefinitely idle part of its Great Lakes Works site in Ecorse and River Rouge, laying off as many as 1,500 steelworkers just days before the beginning of the holiday season. State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette), who has been a strong advocate of better strategic state and industry collaboration, believes many of the same factors that led to the idling of the Empire mine in the Upper Peninsula are responsible.

“The idling of the Ecorse and River Rouge steel plants in Michigan and the shift of these vital jobs to Gary, Indiana is another reminder that what we do as a state to retain high-paying manufacturing jobs is critical. Like mining in my district, we must do better,” said Cambensy. “This is exactly why I created legislation to form a Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future, to bridge the gap between the state and industry. Our state government cannot remain disconnected from industry and expect to retain these jobs and companies.”

When the Empire mine in Marquette County was idled in 2016, nearly 400 high-paying jobs were lost, causing long-lasting economic damage to several communities in the U.P. Cambensy is concerned similar effects will be felt throughout southeast Michigan as a result of U.S. Steel’s decision.

“The lesson here is simple. If we aren’t strategic, we are going to continue to lose these industry jobs and companies – which have defined Michigan’s working class for decades – to other states,” said Cambensy. “We can absolutely do more to compete and keep them here. We absolutely should.”