City, county leaders look for job opportunites for soon-to-be displaced USEC workers


Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - Randall Barnes

MAYFIELD, Ky. - The vice president of United Steel Workers Local 5-50 is fed up with the U.S. Department of Energy.

"We sent a letter to the new secretary of energy this past Tuesday," said Jim Key.  And it didn't stop there.  "Last week we sent a letter to the White House, he said."

And so far, he said the letters have fallen on deaf ears.  In fact, Paducah city and McCracken County leaders have heard nothing either.  Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler is heading to Washington D.C. in July.  Key told Local 6, he may not be far behind.

"It's not without consideration to unfortunately use adverse publicity against the department which may include a bus trip and picketing of the DOE's facility in Washington D.C.," Key said.

Key wants to keep his members here.  He's getting help from the West Kentucky Workforce Investment Board.  Sheila Clark oversees the state's 17 most western counties.

"They already know to come to work.  They know how to show up," she said. 

Clark is tasked with helping place the workers at other highly skilled plants including a Fulton County candles and fragrance facility, which is looking to hire 150 people, the German based Kemmerich metal engineering plant in Murray, which will hire 120 and an aluminum auto plant in McCracken County will bring on another 150.

Key is grateful for any opportunity, because he says the Department of Energy hasn't told him what will happen to the site and it's frustrating him.

"They will not release that information to us or include us in any current discussions they are having," Key said.