Prior to this month's layoffs, the company had doubled its workforce since 2012. But Mid Continent needed to increase the price of its products to offset the cost of tariffs. Many of the company's customers immediately canceled their orders as they were able to buy cheaper nails on international markets such as China or Taiwan.
Pratt wants Trump to grant the company exemptions from the steel import tariffs – in this case Mid Continent – to be able to reinstate the laid-off 60 workers. If not, the jobs of the other 500 workers are at stake
"Many people would be in trouble," said Diane Brogdon, who has been working on the assembly line for 1
Mid Continent also manufactures wire spools, plastic strips and until two weeks ago paper tape strips nails. Only seven months after the opening of the new paper-band factory, the machines stand still and conclude with the dismissals. Next door is a warehouse full of boxes with nails. There are no interested buyers.
About one hour north in Cape Girardeau, SEMO fired boxing workers as a direct result of cuts in Mid Continent. Because of mass production in nail production, there is less demand for their typical box order.
Brogdon voted for Trump and hopes the president will get a better deal for the American worker. But she said, "He wants to make America big, but he has to remember that we have jobs here that we need to keep in. He's fighting for us in Washington DC, but we're struggling to live here in Poplar Bluff. "
Jimmie Coffer worked for five years as a skilled machinist in Mid Continent. He describes his work as "more than a job".
"I come here every day doing what I love," he said. "These people here are my brothers and sisters."
Although Coffer fears that his own work and those of his colleagues may be endangered, he continues to support the efforts of the Trump administration.
"I know what concerns me, and tariffs hurt me every day – I'd like to see relief," said Coffer NBC News. "I still have faith in the President, I believe he knows what he's doing, and can do anything for us."
Pratt's message to the administration: "Save our jobs." Give us the exclusions for which we've applied, bring us back to work, save Poplar Bluff jobs and vice versa American jobs. "