© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Union Metal Closes Plant In Canton, Sending 300 Workers To Find New Jobs

Tim Rudell
Ohio Means Jobs Stark-Tuscawaras Counties, Canton office

Union Metal in Canton gave 300-plus workers the word last month that the plant is closing for good this month, and they’re all out of work. Ohio is offering a special set of information sessions to help the employees find something new.

The Ohio Means Jobs office for Stark and Tuscarawas counties set up workshops this week at its locations in Canton and New Philadelphia for the laid-off employees. Two of the first-day attendees said it helped because it gave good information and a sense of hope.  

“I was more in the clerical end, so that’s where I’ll stay,” says Melinda DeHoff of Canton, who was an office employee at Union Metal. “I am a medical transcriptionist, so I’m hoping that might help me get into that."

Mike Basiewicz of Massillon, who is past 60, is taking another tack in trying to continue his career as a mechanical/electrical designer.

"I’m in the hunt, but I’m looking at other options, too: to try and incorporate as an LLC, so a corporation isn’t taking the responsibility of hiring an old guy,” Basiewicz says. “They’ll hire a limited liability company."

Amy Miller, who leads the job training program, says people who can’t make scheduled sessions can still get help.

“If they’re not able to attend one of these sessions, maybe because of the weather, or something else—you know there are a lot of sick people running around right now—they can always call us and schedule for these appointments as well,” Miller says. “We don’t want there to be any reason for them to feel like they can’t get an appointment or see someone to do a resume.” 

All told, 339 people were or will be terminated in the closing of Union Metal.

The operation, in Canton since 1906, was one of the country's leading manufacturers of landscape and street-lighting equipment.