Saturday, January 03, 2009

Steel Industry on the Verge of Collapse

You didn't know that I knew anything about steel, did you? Ah, but I lived in Baltimore for about 15 yrs. My Dad managed a small specialty steel company there just up the road from Bethlehem Steel on Sparrows Point. Both my brother and I had summer jobs there.

Bethlehem Steel, Sparrows Point was an enormous plant on the Chesapeake Bay encompassing about 4 miles of land. Three shift kept the mills & furnances running constantly. The only time the furnace stopped was for a few days at Christmas. Dundalk (we referred to it as the "city of many smells") was a company town, originally owned by the Steel co. It was forever covered in a light dusting of red power- you couldn't hang your laundry outside. No insects dwelled there.

There were 3 working shifts. You'd better know the times they changed, as you didn't want to be on the highway (there was a new mall there) then. These were good-paying jobs. The superisors out there had their own country club which they were given. College grads were trained & employed for lifelong jobs (they thought). Ships were built there & they had their own railroad tracks. Now- nothing. Nothing or not much. What were we thinking?

No new cars, no infrastructure, no housing, competition overseas equal no business for steel mills. They want a bailout, too.
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