Noranda Lays Off 89 Employees

Noranda Lays Off 89 Employees
By: Holly Brantley
NEW MADRID, Mo. - Continuing coverage of the latest round of layoffs at Noranda Aluminum in New Madrid County. Company president, Keith Gregston tells us the announcement to layoff 90 workers came down Monday. By the end of the day Tuesday one worker was told he would not be laid off brining the total down to 89 workers.
The cuts took effect Wednesday morning. These come off of 35 layoffs we told you about in November. Gregston says they made the decision for the good of Nearly 800 workers still on the job.

Workers tell us they knew there could be more layoffs, but they didn't expect it to hit so many. They found out by reading their name on a list.

"I had a friend call me and ask if I'd gotten laid off," said Brad Blakey. "I didn't know if I had. I had to drive down and look. I saw my name on the list posted." He'd worked at Noranda for four years. He says he never missed a day of scheduled labor. "It's kind of impersonal," Blakey says of the list. "You'd think you'd get a phone call. I saw it and it wasn't a good feeling."

Blakey has two sons. "This is a tough time of year. It's kind of tough for me and the other workers. Our insurance also ends tomorrow. So, for me, I have two boys with no insurance and non until the first of the year when they can get on my wife's plan."

Union President, Ronny Marks, says these two sets of cuts are the first layoffs at Noranda in more than 20 years. He says he hopes they aren't permanent. "That's what we pray," said Marks. "I really don't believe they will be. Hopefully the economy will pick back up and we'll be back in full force. Of course, when - we just don't know."

Marks advises all effected employees to file unemployment as soon as possible. "The ones here two or more years will also get supplemental pay," said Marks. "We've been trying to answer questions. They can call me anytime," said Marks.

In fact, he says phones at the Union office have been ringing constantly. They're happy to help, but they say workers are taking it hard so close to Christmas. And, with word of cuts filtering to workers on posted lists, Union Secretary, Jessica Sanders had to break the news to some."

"They call and I just tell them it's breaking my heart," said Jessica. "I tell them they can come here and I'll help them with resumes or whatever they need."