OBJECTIVES: Due to the economic crisis and globalization, many workers have been suffering from severe occupational stress due to job insecurity and struggles related to downsizing and restructuring. This study aims to assess the stress levels among workers involved in fierce labor disputes and massive layoffs and to evaluate their specific needs and satisfaction with counseling services set up to help workers cope with severely stressful situations? METHODS: The authors provided crisis intervention to workers in traumatic situations to compare the differential level of stress responses and needs among the workers remaining employed in a large auto factory, those laid off by it, and those laid off by other companies in the same region (Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province). We measured stress levels using the worker's stress response inventory (WSRI) and heart rate variability (HRV), and assessed workers' satisfaction with the counseling services. RESULTS: 502 workers participated in the program. Fifty-seven percent of them consulted with occupational problems. The mean WSRI score of the workers remaining employed in the automobile factory was higher than that of the unemployed (employed: 39.8+/-19.9, unemployed: 29.3+/-18.8). Ninety-five percent of workers responded that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the counseling services. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests the urgent need for the establishment of a national crisis intervention program dedicated to supporting workers in severely stressful situations.