Hard luck in hard times - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Hrapsky

Hard luck in hard times

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ST. CHARLES (KTTC-DT) -- Former employees of the North Star plant are taking their last stands searching for work, trying to stay in the St. Charles community. If they don't find something soon, they are going to have to hit the road or face poverty.

When you think of a dream job, what comes to mind?

Supermodel? Pro golfer? Astronaut?

We asked one North Star employee named Jose, "What's your dream job?"

He said with complete sincerety, "Machine operator at North Star."

To these Mexican workers, North Star foods was the American dream.

Like many other stories we've been reporting lately, the economy is beating down on these displaced workers. The sad thing? The economy isn't why they lost their jobs; it was a mishap, a fire.

Tuesday, more than 75 former North Star employees lined up at the community resource center to fill out applications for a limited number of factory jobs in other cities.

Masterson Personnel Supervisor Monica Mata says, "We have Seneca, Lakeside Food as well. We do have other companies like Austin Packaging."

While many remain in town, other North Star workers have already moved on to other states or even back to Mexico in search of work.

Mata was a boss, an interpreter, and she says a mother-like figure for many younger workers at the North Star plant.

"Any time they would do something wrong, I would tell them and any time they did something good, I would tell them too. So I felt like a mother to them. They are my little babies," said Mata.

The applications are plenty, the jobs are not.

Jose and his friends are now stuck in the same unemployment web as 13 million Americans, facing hard luck during harder times.

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