Eaton Rapids city officials plan to help unemployed


EATON RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) – After a massive fire and explosion at Meridian Magnesium in Eaton Rapids last week, officials are now working to make sure the employees of that city’s largest employer have options, as hundreds face layoffs.

“We don’t want people to have to make a decision on whether or not they’re going to pay their bill, their utility bill, or buy food for their kids,” said Eaton Rapids Mayor Paul Malewski.

Malewski says with the expected unemployment in the city, they’re working on accommodating employees by offering payment plans for those who struggle to pay utility bills.

“We’re not going to be the people with the hammer and sickle and run right in there and cut you off five minutes after your bill is due,” said Malewski. “We’re not going to do that.”

Because of the explosion, a Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant shut down this week due to a parts shortage: parts they usually get from Meridian Magnesium.

Eaton Rapids City Manager Aaron Desentz says in his time on the job, he’s never experienced something this big.

“I have not seen something like this,” said Desentz. “Even before this, I’ve been a city manager for roughly five years now and I have not seen something to this magnitude.”

Meridian Magnesium sent a statement to 6 News today saying they value their employees and are looking for options to cover their income streams.

They plan to recall some employees to help with the clean-up process. For those still unemployed, Mayor Malewski says the city is going to work hard to help them.

“That’s why they elect us,” said Malewski. “That’s why they have their city government to be there to provide them services when they need them, and they need them.”

Meridian Magnesium employees will meet face to face tomorrow with management and city partners in hopes of figuring out the next step.

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