I was born in New York in 1973. My father was a factory worker who lost his job due to a shutdown and subsequently joined the Army. His joining the Army is how I ended up living in Maryland in the mid 1980′s. I graduated high school and joined the Army myself soon afterwards. I spent my three year enlistment in the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg North Carolina. I had one peacekeeping deployment to Panama for Operation Safe Haven.
I left the Army in 1996, having had two daughters while in the Army, and on August the 26th, 1996 I started in the Plate Mill at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrow’s Point Plant. I worked in the Plate Mill until 1997 when I bid into the Cold Sheet Mill. I worked on the #3 Skin Pass Mill until its shut down in 2000/2001. It was during my time in the Cold Mill that Len Shindel introduced me to the Union and I became involved. I served as a shop steward for 3 years while in the Cold Mill.
Len Shindel began working at Sparrows Point in 1973. He served as a shop steward and full-time representative for USW Locals 2609 and 9477 during his 29 years in the mill. While frequently writing newsletters on issues facing his co-workers, he was fortunate to also have his articles published in the Other Voices section of the Baltimore Evening Sun, poetry journals and periodicals. He currently works as a media specialist for an international union in Washington, D.C.
Michael Lewis, 53, native Baltimorean , Patterson High graduate, attended CCBC Dundalk and Morgan State University, Worked at the Sparrows Point Plant for 34 years, Started as Laborer, then Crane Operator, was a Union Shop Steward, Alternate Grievance Committeeman, Safety Coordinator, Safety Training Instructor, and Financial Secretary for USW Local 9477. During my career I’ve worked on many political action campaigns, including “Stand Up for Steel” and well as the Iowa Caucuses.
ELMER HALL was born and raised in the company town of Sparrows Point. From 1960 to 1963 he was in the US Army Security Agency and was stationed in Hokkaido, Japan. Following the service he returned to Sparrows Point and worked in the steel mill for five years before going back to school at night on the GI Bill. He obtained a BS in Elementary Education from Towson State and a Masters from Johns Hopkins and spent 30 years teaching in the Baltimore County Public School system. He has published four books on the history of Sparrows Point.
Please join us at The Windup Space on Sat, Feb 22 from 5-7 pm as former employees of the Sparrows Point steelworks share their memories of working “Down the Point.” With Len Shindel, Mike Lewis, Chris MacLarion, Elmer Hall and more. 10-12 W. North Ave, Baltimore MD 21201.
But we’ll be back at the Windup Space on Feb 22. Stay tuned!