Workers belonging to United Steel Workers Local 1190 in Steubenville received an update from their leaders on RG Steel's progression through bankruptcy court. While many workers have retired, moved away, or found other work, many with hopes the mill will reopen remain unhappy.
In Mingo Junction, RG Steel's Mingo mill stood cold and shuttered. A mile or so away in Steubenville, the men and women of USW Local 1190 who used to sweat and freeze as they bashed steel into shape, gathered to hear local union leaders tell them the latest news from the bankruptcy proceedings. Their mood seemed grim.
"It's been this way for a long time, it's getting worse," one said. "It's bad, really bad," said another.
Some members trickled in after the meeting started. About 20 or so minutes later after listening in a packed room, some trickled out. They felt angry and betrayed by leadership at all levels. Only a couple agreed to interviews. Many on the steps outside peppered their description of the situation with expletives.
One who did talk was Dave Ware. He said, "They just don't seem like they want to have the steelworkers around here. They're phasing us out. And we don't know what we're supposed to do."
Another, Rodney Roe, blamed politicians across the political spectrum for creating the unemployment. "Our government doesn't do enough for us," he started. "They -- both sides -- Democrat or Republican -- they don't care about us. Once they get in office, they forget about us. They don't come back here. They don't see us," Roe said. "The only time we see them -- when it's time for an election. Come see us now. Do something for these people who don't have a job."
Another man identified himself as a former worker at the Mingo plant. As a current union member in the Pittsburgh area, he came to the USW Local 1190 hall to boost solidarity. When informed presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would speak at a coal mine on Tuesday, August 14, he let out a string of curses about Republicans, turned on his heel, and walked away.
Union leaders had made the journey to bankruptcy court to tell the new owners they wanted to work towards getting members back to work at Mingo Junction. Discussions continue about USW 1190's collective bargaining agreement
with RG Steel, and the bankruptcy court, without a definite
outcome yet in sight. For now, the blast furnace remains cold and silent.