Why This Blog

D10736_7422smWe are losing something important if we let industry and manufacturing in America slip away from us.  I’ve written these stories to connect people to a world they may not know and may not understand.  But it is a world that shaped the character of this nation as surely as the places of our heritage, the social movements that formed our principles, and the beliefs that guide our decisions.  Because within these stories are the fundamentals of how our nation was built and the kind of people who built it.

I worked at Bethlehem Steel’s Steelton Plant for over thirty years and was privileged to be the Local Union President there for eighteen of those years.  I had a unique vantage point with my co-workers, a once-great company in decline, a workforce that wouldn’t give up and a community that struggled with these changes.  Today the Mill is owned by Arcelor/Mittal, one of the largest steel companies in the world.  Steelton has survived in a global market that closed 6,300 manufacturing facilities in the last decade.  Steelton still exists because of its people and to no small measure, the United Steelworkers Union.
If people reading these stories begin to understand how and why that is, the stories will be a success.

Enjoy and feel free to add your own workplace experiences to this blog and share wide and far….

Ike Gittlen


7 thoughts on “Why This Blog

  1. I also worked in the Fruehauf plant in Middletown, PA. I was there in mid 1970’s through 1989, but it was a long time ago, and I don’t remember the local union. Do you know what it was?

  2. I am trying to help a person find out who handled the retirements for steelton plant bethlehem steel…..the man is a stroke person and he cant remember a lot

    • Call Greg Reese at USW Local 1688. He’s been handling questions for RETIREES

      Call him at 717.939.9366

      The Bethlehem pension is now in the hands of the government PBGC.

  3. Hello:

    My dad Alexander Swan worked at Bethehem Steel Plant for 38 years and never missed a sick day. His nickname was “tomatoes” from Dillwyn, VA His time period was 1940 to 1978. He received 13 weeks vacations. I went with him for retirement that how I learned his history. The doctor shared the 38 years and no sick day with me. “I was floored”

    Something to add “The Bethehem Men”

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