Meridian Magnesium workers told they can still get paid

EATON RAPIDS, Mich. (WSYM) - Workers at Meridian Magnesium have been worried about what's going to happen to their jobs while the company recovers from the fire May 2.

Plant managers held a meeting with the staff Thursday to let them know they'll still get paid, either for helping clean up or for helping the Eaton Rapids community.

FOX 47's Alani Letang talked with an employee about why many of them are relieved after the meeting.

"Meridian got your back," said Derek Swain, a Meridian Magnesium employee. Swain has been with the company for a year and a half working in Plant 3, where the fire happened.

Derek Swain was relieved to hear he'll have the opportunity to earn a living while Meridian Magnesium is partially shut down because of the fire.

"People in there have a good spirit on them. They are not down or nothing," said Swain.

And that was the goal of the meeting according to plant manager George Asher.  Letang met up with Asher after touring the plant and their operations. He told Letang he hopes the employees will stay with the company.

"They're critical to our operations, they're skilled they know the business and I don't want to lose them to other employers," said George Asher, plant manager.

That is one of the reasons why Asher wants to pay for their health care benefits for 30 days. He's also working to recall some to work on clean-up jobs inside the plant.

"It was a very positive meeting. The concerns that they had: 'when are we coming back?' We had an event that's going to take some time to rebuild and it's going to take a little bit of time to get the operations running again," said Asher.

Swain said if he can't get back inside and do some of the many clean-up jobs that Letang saw. He said he's happy that his company is giving him an opportunity to pay it forward by working with charities in the community.

Swain said, "I think I'm going to do some work at the Boys and Girls Club or go to a food bank. They were talking about how they can make regular wage doing that type of work. getting some time in instead of sitting at home. I'm looking forward to helping the community with some volunteer work."

Swain said that he is staying bright and positive about his future employment with Meridian, "I'm not too worried about it, I'm sure everything will be alright."

Asher said that he is going to use this fire as an opportunity to knock some things off the company's bucket list.

"If we had things that we needed to improve on, now is the opportunity to make it better. and we are stressing that with our re-build plan," Asher said.

The company is not releasing the specifics of the re-build plan yet.

We will let you know when they do.