Erie Coke employees were turned away from the plant this morning as they arrived for work, with Erie Coke letting them know that the plant is now closed, this after months of legal proceedings and fines for environmental violations.
As workers pulled up to Erie Coke Corporation, they were informed the plant would be permanently shut down. One of the workers we spoke with say that he is at a loss.
“It just sucks, everyone is saying close Erie Coke down, what am I supposed to do now?” the employee said. “Where am I supposed to get a job at? They close the place down, there is 120 workers that aren’t going to have anything for Christmas.”
Another person working third shift saying operations were as normal until the end of his shift.
“They just came in at the end of the shift and told us we were relieved from our duties,” said D’Marco Gregory. “We’re closing today. They told us permanently close. Grab our stuff and hit the door.”
The company citing a combination of issues led to the decision to close the plant from the city severing the plant’s ability to discharge wastewater into the sewers and the financial impact of trucking it off, which led to the frustration of family members of those who lost their jobs.
“The only reaction is I’m so grateful for the city shutting us down and ruining my families’ Christmas.” said Wendy Hall, the wife of a Erie Coke foreman.
Representatives from the United Steel Workers Local 3199-03 says they aren’t going down without a fight as they look for ways to work with city and state regulators to keep the plant open.
“We’re reaching out to everybody, find employment to help these guys get back on their feet.” said Todd Clary of United Steel Workers Local 3199-03.
Union representative Todd Clary says they were unable to talk with Erie Mayor Joe Schember but plan on having a sit down meeting. They will also be trying to speak with Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper.