Dept. of Labor helping displaced Tonawanda Coke employees find jobs

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Life threw a big curve ball to about hundred employees of Tonawanda Coke when the plant was ordered to closing it’s doors, with no notice.

“It was just quick. We spent the last 2-3 months giving it everything we had,” said Dashaun Young, former Tonawanda Coke employee.

United Steelworkers Union rep Joseph Vertalino says employees have not received severance pay, benefits, or their last pay check..

“With the bankruptcy proceedings now it looks like we’re going to have to do a little work to try to get these guys what they’re due,” said Joseph Vertalino, United Steelworkers representative.

“We have our labor standards division and so they will be working with employees on that,” said Carolyn Bright, Department of Labor Career Center Manager.

Many employees came to this targeted career session. with high hopes of finding a new job or at least leaving with new job leads.

“There’s a few places. Obviously there’s still some steel manufacturing going on here,” said Jason Kaambat, former Tonawanda Coke Assistant Plant Manager.

The Department of Labor is assisting employees with things like filing for unemployment and making a resume.

“We have probably 400 or 500 job openings and then we have businesses on our waiting list,” said Bright.

“Being in the manufacturing world we’re definitely looking for those with production background, skill trades, machinists, industrial electricians,” said Ryan Gabriel, Sumitomo Rubber Human Resource Specialist.

In the meantime Tonawanda Coke employees are hoping something comes up soon, so they can put food on the table.

“That’s going to be a concern especially this time of the year, I got a young daughter a 12 year old,” said Dashaun Young, former Tonawanda Coke employee.

Displaced Tonawanda Coke workers who can’t make it to the career fair being held at the United Steel Workers Union Hall at 810 Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda today are being urged to stop into either the Buffalo Career Center on Main street or the Niagara Falls Career Center for assistance.

You can also call the following numbers:

Buffalo Career Center: 716-851-2600

Niagara Falls Career Center: 716-278-8258

NYS Department of Labor: 518-457-5519

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