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Inside the Tonawanda Coke plant: an employee's perspective

Posted at 11:22 PM, Oct 14, 2018

Dale is one of roughly 100 Tonawanda Coke Corporation employees who will soon be out of a job.

He asked we not use his last name or show his face. But, the father from Niagara Falls is sharing his story of what it was like working inside the plant. He was hired five years ago. “I was looking for work. I needed a job,” he explained.

Dale said there were times he would put in 80 to 100 hours a week. He was always required to wear P.P.E., or personal protective equipment. His uniform included a respirator, and other safety gear.

Reporter Ali Touhey: Do you worry about your health?

Dale: No. We'd get yearly physicals, and nothing ever came back concerning.

But, Dale said he does worry about how he'll make ends meet once the plant closes. Dale's wife, Tracy also worries about next steps for their family. “I work part time,” Tracy said. “Everything I make goes into providing for my kids, and now my husband has to figure out how he's going to provide for us and how everyone else he works with is going to provide for their families,” she added.

Dale said he'll receive $500 in severance pay, or about $100 for every year he worked at the plant. He said it's not enough. “You work at a company, it's supposed to be like a family, right? That's not the way they treat people. They don't treat you like they care about you. They really don't.”

We reached out to the Tonawanda Coke attorney for comment. But we haven't heard back.

T​​ouhey: What's next for you?

Dale: Look for another job. I have a mortgage, a truck payment, I got a wife and kids. My wife works part time. They didn't take any of that into consideration.

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