Hiring at new Granite City coke plant raises questions and hope for laid-off steel workers

In: Granite City

By: Mary Detach Leonard, Beacon Staff

6:37 am on Thu, 06.11.09

Word that SunCoke Energy has started the hiring process for its new coke-making facility that is nearing completion in Granite City could mean little — or everything — to more than 2,000 workers laid off from the idled U.S. Steel plant next door.

While SunCoke’s projected hiring of about 100 workers is good news to the hard-hit local manufacturing industry, the real glimmer of hope — or question — is in the 15-year contractual agreement that has U.S. Steel buying the coke and steam produced at the Gateway Energy & Coke Co. facility, which is slated to begin operation this fall.