Community reacts to 300 layoffs at Tenaris

Community reacts to 300 layoffs at Tenaris

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Hundreds of people are without a job after a major Mississippi County steel company announced company-wide layoffs. Houston-based Tenaris announced Friday that 500 employees at three of their U.S. facilities will be laid off.

Three hundred of those are in Blytheville alone.

Gas prices are dipping nationwide and while it's seen as good news for many, the reality of falling oil prices have hit Mississippi County hard.

After laying off 300 people in Blytheville, Tenaris cited low numbers at the pump as a partial reason for the layoff.

"Gas prices going down, which is a good deal, but we all know, with me working at a steel manufacturer and some friends I have out there, we all know that when this happens, we know what's gonna happen," Chris Hollingshead said.

Hollingshead, who works at another steel manufacturer in Blytheville, said it's news some people saw coming but it's still tough to hear.

"Especially people that's been out there for so many years, got a family, kids," Hollingshead said.

Hollingshead said the mass layoff will leave many people at a loss as to what to do next.

"Do I go to school? Do I look for another job? If you lay off 400 people, where are you gonna go?

The next factory is gonna do it, the next factory is gonna do it. It affects everybody."

For Treena Brown, the news hits close to home. Her brother and cousin work at Tenaris.

"This time of year, it's just hard. You think about after Christmas and the holidays," Brown said.

Brown, who was in town for the recent opening of her daughter and son in law's new gas station, said it's difficult to celebrate growth for some while others are going through hard times.

"I hope that things will pick back up for them and they can rehire those people," she said.

But if not, Brown hopes new business to Blytheville might help those now without a job.

"We actually have some new businesses coming in and that might be good news for some people that are kind of down today," Brown said.

Tenaris said another reason for the layoffs was overseas imports. Many of the goods Tenaris produces at factories like the one in Blytheville are being imported to the U.S. at record levels from South Korea.

Some jobs coming to Mississippi County, will be through another steel plant. Big River Steel is under construction right now in Osceola. A processing center will also open to help the facility. The plant is expected to employ 500 people.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.