I would like to respond to the Oct, 18th letter that appeared in the Times Leader written by Congressman Bill Johnson. His reply was regarding my contention that the Congressman made himself unavailable to our membership while we were seeking help to either save our jobs or with displacement due to the liquidation of R.G. Steel. I am responding to the Congressman’s misguided response now that the election season is over. It appears that Representative Johnson feels I was invoking partisan politics and misformation when I stated that he probably doesn’t know that Martins Ferry had a steel mill. I was not “grandstanding” in the political arena but merely stating facts.
You can ask any of the over two hundred employees from the Wheeling- Pitt Steel facility (RG Steel) in Martins Ferry if Congressman Johnson has ever set foot on the plant premises or the Union Hall. They will all say the same resounding “NO”. We have been fortunate to many of our State and Federal representatives as well as various political candidates come through our facilities. I was the Vice President of the Local until my retirement and I know first hand who has been our friend and who hasn’t, you haven’t been there when we needed you the most. If you don’t believe me, ask the Local Union President, Johnny Waugh, who went on television to say the same thing.
You claim to have a letter from USW President Leo Gerard and Director Dave McCall thanking you for your work assisting RG Steel. I contacted Director McCall and he seems to think you might have talked with someone about the Ormet situation but he doesn’t recall any contact with you. That was above me, and I don’t doubt your statement. You claim to be an advocate for the Mingo Junction Facility, yet at your most recent appearance at Steubenville neither you or the Governor made any mention of the Mingo Junction Facility just down the road. Your interest in the facility appears to be only in passing.
I did not see any mention of the Martins Ferry Plant in you recent oratory on my letter writing and information skills. That Makes My Case In Point! I believe that you consider displaced mill workers as Collateral Damage in your effort to, using your own words, “be a strong advocate for business in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio”. These employees are facing a cold hard Christmas and winter through no fault of their own. You are their elected representative, yet their plight doesn’t seem to concern you. Congressman, anyone can sit behind a desk and scribble a note or place a phone call and claim what a great job they are doing. The proof is in the appearance and by that criteria you have not shown your face to any of our members at Martins Ferry.
You claim the support and endorsements of business and labor organizations up and down the Ohio River, but I know of quite a few labor unions who would dispute that fact. Unfortunately, the voters have spoken and your are our representative to Congress but I do not consider you worthy of representing me or any active members or retirees from the Ferry Local.
USW S.O.A.R. Chapter 23-9