Efforts to assist laid off Bayou Steel workers increase

Help For Laid-Off Steel Workers

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom and state officials say they are doing everything possible to assist laid off Bayou Steel workers.

The workers were abruptly laid off Monday (Sept. 30) and some said they were never officially notified by the company.

Robottom says the company did not follow the normal procedures for giving notice of the planned closure of the plant and layoffs.

“We are very concerned about what happened,” said Robottom.

Ava DeJoie, Secretary of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, said the state understands the difficulties workers are experiencing.

“It is the death of what has traditionally been your livelihood,” said DeJoie.

Robottom echoed that.

"This is a traumatic event for the individuals involved. It was without notice, without pay, a lack of insurance and all things that help families to be whole. Although all of the individuals are not from St. John the Baptist Parish, we are attempting to help everyone,” she said.

About 200 of the affected workers showed up at the LWC office in LaPlace on Tuesday to apply for jobless benefits and to explore new job opportunities.

On the same day, Bayou Steel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

DeJoie said the focus is on assisting the displaced workers.

"Now our job is to transition these people into the next opportunity and that is the charge certainly that I was given from the governor,” she said.

Local vendors and contractors who did business with Bayou Steel are also affected.

Job fairs will be held Thursday on both sides of Lake Pontchartrain. For more information go to: http://www.laworks.net/.

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