Shadow (dariaphoebe) wrote,

Oh I've got a travelin' fever, baby, got a travelin' jones

Saturday afternoon, having planned to go away but noting that remaining daylight was waning, I decided on the fly that it might be a good day to visit the Youngstown Museum of Labor and Industry. And it was. I went through the entire steel exhibit, pausing to watch some of the videos in their entirety. One was a story of the death of the basic steel industry in Youngstown. Youngstown Sheet & Tube, Republic, U.S. Steel... they all bailed on Youngstown. The *last* of the large mill closings (leaving only remnants which have mostly hung on to this day employing a few hundred people) was 1980.

At the same time, I borrowed And the Wolf Finally Came from tubecity and have been reading it.

So, having seen an entire city's steel industry die over 3 years, you'd figure the workers, when asked in 1982 for givebacks on the wage increases they won in the 1980 (3 year, apparently) contract, might not have had the same attitude they did, that steel would rebound and then their givebacks would be forgotten.

Ok, admittedly Hoerr does explain the prior dealings which resulted in the sides being at loggerheads. But seeing that, after none of the producers had invested in Youngstown for years and all the mills were gone, and the closing of the J&L Pittsburgh Works (except the newer facility on the South Side which I think was the electric furnace) just 3 years earlier after it also had had no renewal, one might expect that the mills of the Mon Valley, which by and large had also remained free of new investment over the years, were logically next.

Hindsight is easy; If you want to keep your job, you offer givebacks tied to reinvestment. But in hindsight a lot of things can change.

The only overriding conclusion I can draw is that the labor-unfriendly attitude of the Reagan administration means Carter's defeat was perhaps far worse in the nation's ultimate history than I thought even 2 months ago... but that's obviously subjective, and demands more study.

Anyway, the museum has the pulpit from a blooming mill, and I'm told the Beaver County Museum of Industry has another; Perhaps, lacking a steel mill museum, these plus the exhibits in the Bost Building in Homestead will serve in their place for guests visiting who want to know more.

On the way back I failed to go to Isaly's in New Wilmington and so instead I saw the last quarter of the Steelers-Jets game at Quaker Steak & Lube in Sharon (it was unavoidable, with all the TVs). Sunday then became long trip day, and so I beat a path to see my sister and her boyfriend via the east shore of the Potomac, the Nice Bridge (seriously), and several underused 4 lane divided surface roads in Eastern Virginia. Dinner and WRT54G repairs consumed the evening; When I hit the pillow at a Williamsburg hotel, it was snowing.

And so Monday began with IHOP and a short trip through Colonial Williamsburg, and continued via the Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnels, up the length of the DelMarVa peninsula following and occasionally taking pictures along the Eastern Shore Railroad, and then home via Lancaster and the PA Turnpike. The trip home was cold and windy. Here, it is cold and snowy.

Maybe I should have gone to California.

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