Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - December 7, 1999, Alton, Illinois
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Negotiations continue in effort to stay open
By ANDE YAKSTIS
Telegraph staff writer
ALTON — A federal bankruptcy judge may grant an extension to Laclede Steel Co. to Jan. 31 to present a plan to reorganize the company and keep the big Alton plant in operation
“We anticipate that the bankruptcy judge will grant our request for an extension until Jan. 31,” said Michael Lane, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Laclede.
Laclede filed for a Chapter ll reorganization bankruptcy on Nov. 30, 1998, in a move to keep the Alton plant open and save 600 jobs and a $26
million annual steelworkers payroll to the Alton economy.
A major thrust of Laclede’s reorganization plan to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Schermer in St. Louis will be a proposal to apply for about $40 million in guaranteed federal loans to make large-scale improvements to the Alton plant to keep it operating into the next century.
An emergency bill passed last summer by the U.S. Congress allows Laclede to apply for more than $40
million in federal loans by a Dec. 31 deadline.
“The federal loans to improve the plant are a key to the survival of Laclede Steel in Alton,” said Terry Wooden, president of Alton United Steelworkers Local 3643.
Laclede and representatives of the Steelworkers union have been negotiating for months to reach a consensual agreement on a plan for multimil-lion-dollar improvements to save the Alton plant from bankruptcy.
Wooden is optimistic that the union and company will reach a consensual agreement by the Dec. 31 deadline to apply for the federal loans.
“Ifs vital for the union and company to present a consensual plan to the bankruptcy judge to apply for the federal loans to make improvements to keep the Alton plant operating and save hundreds of jobs,” Wooden said.
Negotiations between the company and union on an agreement are “progressing well,” said Lane, the
An estimated $40 million in improvements would revive Laclede as a major steel-producing plant in the country, a move that will boost the economy of the Alton area, Wooden said.
Under the plan to improve the Alton plant, an estimated $6 million would be spent in the electric melt shop to renovate the 30-year-old giant furnace, which melts tons of steel for plant production units.
“The improvements in the melt shop would increase productivity of the furnace,” Lane said.
Driver crashes into new lightpole
Streetlight part of $1 million project
By BARBARA M. COPE
Telegraph staff writer
EDWARDSVILLE - An allegedly drunken driver declared lights out for a brand new decorative streetlamp, which had been dedicated in a Grand Lighting ceremony only hours before.
Jamison Onstott, 25, of the 800 block of Troy Road in Edwardsville was cited for
■ See LIGHTPOLE, Page A7
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Vol. 164, No. 326 - 50 cents
Tuesday, December 7, 1999
www.thetelegraph.comLaclede may get extensionLocal employers scrambling to hire seasonal work help
Unemployment rate continues at 4.1 percent
provision in place
By LINDA N. WELLER
Telegraph staff writer
By KERRY SMITH
Telegraph staff writer
With the U.S. unemployment rate continuing at a low of 4.1 percent, local employers are feeling the ripple effect in the form of not enough seasonal workers.
A t Alton’s B j g Kmart on Homer Adams Parkway, store manager Shari Murphy says employers have learned to take an aggres-s i v e
stance on finding job candidates.
“Ifs true that seasonal positions have been tough to fill,” Murphy said. “We’ve hired a total of 45 to 50 seasonals, and our final eight have begun this week.”
If a candidate completes a store employment application,
u"DeoPle wh° put in an I application need to be interviewed on the spot, because once they walk out the door, someone else will hire them.”
Alton Big Kmart store manager
don’t let that person walk out the door without an interview if you believe he or she would make an ideal worker, Murphy said. The current labor shortage is a simple case of strong demand and weak supply.
“It’s true,” she said. “People who put in an application need to be interviewed on the spot, because once they walk out the door, someone else will hire them.” The fast-food' industry is among those scrambling for workers, and sometimes it has to resort to novel methods for recruiting them. The search for fast-food employees is not limited to signs in the window.
At the Edwardsville McDonald’s, pink fliers advertising the need for workers recently were included with customer
The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES
Eileen Bourdeau of East Alton, left, checks out Monday at Target on Homer Adams Parkway in Alton with the help of employee Amanda Austin of Brighton.
Tim Brown, who owns Burger King franchises in Bethalto, Edwardsville, Jerseyville and Troy, said the search for help is ongoing, but he has no problem keeping his customers satisfied.
“We’re always looking for good help, but our business continues to grow,” he said.
“It’s a competitive market out
Although Illinois’ November unemployment stats are not out yet, labor analyst Dennis Hoffman says those figures also will reflect the nationwide search for workers.
“Since the rate has been on a downward trend, a lot of people are looking around,” Hoffman
said about The Telegraph area’s job seekers. “There does appear to be a segment of the population that is happy to be working temporary jobs. They’re very talented and have a skill that’s in demand.
. Fifteen years ago, we might have negatively labeled this segment as ‘job hoppers,’ but not today.”
EDWARDSVILLE - A state senator who was willing to go to bat legislatively so Illinoisans can ensure their end-of-life medical care wishes are carried out during an emergency, discovered recently that a little-known provision already is in place.
The problem is, hardly anyone knows about it, said state Sen. Evelyn Bowles, D-Edwardsville.
“They can utilize it and should utilize it,” Bowles
■ See WILL, Page A7
The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNESClimbing the rafters
Dan Thaxton, left, of Jerseyville and Brad Shoemate of St. Charles balance a beam Monday during the construction of the CVS Pharmacy on State Street at the Alton-Godfrey boundary. The men are members of Iron Workers Local 392 in East St. Louis.
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