Saturday, March 12, 2011
My first Union
At the time Armco was the 5th biggest steel maker in the country. John B. Tytus, with a degree in English Literature from Yale, had invented the process to roll wide sheets of steel in huge quantities back in the 20s. His plant was still in operation when I worked there and witnessed its operation. He died of a heart attack in 1944, the year the AEIF was formed. At that time Tytus's rolling mill provided 60% of the skin for General Motor's cars off that line. Armco had also invented the corrugated pipe that became the standard for drainage and culverts nationwide. American Steel was in its prime. Armco offered any employees classes in metallurgic sciences, math, science, public speaking, engineering (on their own time of course). My dad took advantage of these and rose through the ranks in the white collar "time study" department to become an industrial engineer and, by the time I got there, head of industrial engineering. He never attended college (he was never a union man). But he enjoyed the union negotiated health benefits (without co-pays) and pension plan. He also enjoyed a subsidized company stock purchase plan (Armco Stock only) as a white collar worker.
A close friend of his who retired about the same time as dad converted all his to AT&T. Dad, ever loyal to the company, held onto the Armco stock. The friend made out. Dad's stock lost 90% of it's value within 10 years. That 10 years will be the point of my next post, or "the nearsightedness of overpaid management", or the "overpaid workers" excuse for stupidity.