Drove 2,000 miles to get axed Day 1! N.Y. miner gets shaft upon arriving in Montana BY LARRY McSHANE DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER Updated Friday, November 21st 2008, 3:09 PM
Larry Mayer Out-of-work upstate miner Sam Gallup picked up and moved to Montana, heeding the voice - and job offer - that said, 'Go West, young man!' He worked one shift and got laid off again. Sam Gallup bolted New York for a new home, a new life and a new job in Montana. One 10-hour shift later, he was facing the same old problem: Unemployment. The 24-year-old upstate mine worker traveled 2,000 miles to find work only to get laid off after one day on the payroll of the Stillwater Mining Co. "It's kind of a dead-end situation," Gallup said Thursday. "Job security? There is none. Right now, I'm in the financial situation of losing everything." Gallup received the bad news Monday night after returning home from his first and last day of work. Standing on the porch of a friend's house in Billings, he noticed a voice mail on his cell phone. Seconds later, in disbelief, the recorded voice said he was out of work - again. "I was a little upset," he said in an even tone. "The fellow that called, he apologized several times, but that was it." In August, the St. Lawrence Zinc company in upstate New York laid off Gallup. Stillwater recruited him and some co-workers willing to leave their homes for Montana. "I packed up everything I owned in my car and drove out here," he said from Montana. "Took me three days. Then I drove two hours to work, two hours home, with a 10-hour shift between." And that was it. Gallup's mother, Maryann, said her son was keeping a brave front. "He's very devastated," she said from their home in upstate Gouverneur, which is about a snowball's throw from Canada. "From knowing Sam, I think the world has crumbled underneath his feet." Stillwater, which mines platinum and palladium at two sites in southern Montana, laid off more than 500 employees this week from a work force of 1,770. Gallup receives his one-day check on Dec. 1. It can't come soon enough; the miner acknowledges "my capital funds are exhausted" - he's flat broke. For now, Gallup is living in a friend's finished basement and hoping to move his fiancée and her son to Montana. He was back on the job hunt Thursday - and optimistic about the future. "You've gotta keep your head up," Gallup said. "Life is a garden. You gotta dig it."