POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) – About 200 miles south of the steel mill that President Trump touted new jobs on Thursday, July 26, more layoffs have been happening at Mid Continent Steel and Wire in Poplar Bluff.
Employees there feel like President Trump is ignoring the negative side effects of steel tariffs which have caused more than 145 layoffs at the nail factory.
Phillip Bennett who has been working at Mid-Continent Steel and Wire for four years weighed in, “Yeah, you can create jobs but you need to stop and look at all the jobs you are taking away. Just creating those one to two hundred jobs doesn’t make up for the 200 that might lose their job here.”
He said it’s aggravating that President Trump is ignoring the layoffs happening at the nail factory.
“We are here more than we are at home. So everyone is like a family, so when you lose one, you do get bothered by it. It scares you because you don’t know. You could walk in one day and they say ‘Hey I’m sorry we don’t need you anymore, or you know we are having to make a cut, or we’re done.”
Chris Pratt manages the nail factory and he said more than 145 people have been laid off since the steel tariff took effect on June 1.
Pratt said it’s forced them to raise the price of their nails, leading to large cuts in sales.
“We’re looking right now at August being 70 percent down than what it should be, and we are making decisions day by day based on sales volumes, of what machines we run, what machines we shut down and how long-term it is.”
?He believes the exemptions have more pros than cons and says DeAcero, their parent company in Mexico, has made huge investments in US manufacturing jobs since they acquired Mid-continent in 2012: “…Doubling the workforce, spending millions of dollars on new equipment, make investments so we can get a grant to build an overpass into the industrial park (in Poplar Bluff).”
Mid-Continent has written a second open letter to President Trump, which emphasizes that they want him to visit the factory.
“We want him to come here, shake their hands and save their jobs. It’s up to President Trump to sign the exclusions that we’ve submitted.”
“You walk around you see these machines not running and you knew there was somebody there running that producing nails. It’s like seeing a ghost. He can come down here and one-hour is all he will need to see what he has caused.”
Leaders at Mid-Continent Steel and Wire say the exclusions they filed to the steel tariffs are now in a public comment period.
Pratt hopes there are no oppositions and says they will know the results on August 17.