Sen. Jason Bean, R-Holcomb, says he was ‘caught completely off guard’ when he heard that Magnitude 7 Metals in Marston is closing. The abrupt closure leaves close to 500 people jobless. The Republican lawmaker says that the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development will be in nearby Portageville lending a helping hand.
“You know, it’s just a huge tragedy for our area,” said Bean. “We lost Tyson earlier this year in Stoddard County and now with Mag 7. So, we’re looking at 1,100 jobs that we’ve lost in the last few months. So, it’s really, it’s tragic for our area and hopefully we can work pretty quickly to see if we can find, you know, another industry to come in.”
The department will provide information about reemployment and services, the current labor market, opportunities to train for a new job, and other benefits to help get the displaced workers back on the job. Other state agencies will provide information related to unemployment service, retraining services, and employee benefit protection.
“I think we’re going to do everything we can to see what our options are,” added Bean. “I think the state’s doing it right now. Like this news is just fresh and see what we can work out.”
The closing is being blamed on the abnormally cold weather and the struggle to find investors to help restart the smelter.
Bean tells Missourinet that he saw the news just after the workers were notified.
“Like I said, we knew that there was potential issues there,” Bean said. “I know we had tried to do some stuff here in the state to help them and that got vetoed by the governor with a loan program. Like I said, we knew there were problems, but we were hoping that we could work through those problems.”
He said that Magnitude 7 Metals accounts for about 20% of all the primary aluminum production in the United States.
Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that he use the Defense Production Act to prevent the shutdown of Magnitude 7 Metals.
“I would hope that President Biden would see the need to definitely step in and do something under that act, but, you know, think about it, five plants going to four plants,” he said. “Aluminum is very important to our economy. We do not want to be reliant on any foreign countries for this. So, I think it is something that the administration definitely needs to take a hard look at.”
Hawley says keeping the plant open is vital to national security.
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