Business wraps up at steel hall, potential buyers express interest
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 13:23

USW commits to accommodating steel retirees

 by Nicole Rodman

    The demise of the Sparrows Point steel mill has been slow and painful — for employees and for the community.
    Since RG Steel declared bankruptcy on May 31, 2012, the end has come in phases. The mill was closed that June, then sold to a liquidator and a redeveloper two months later. The cold mill was sold for parts in December, dashing hopes that the mill might one day reopen. Since that time, crews have dismantled and demolished much of the once-bustling plant.
    Now, another chapter in the mill’s history is ending as United Steelworkers (USW) International prepares to sell the Steelworkers hall on Dundalk Avenue.
    According to Jim Strong, subdistrict Maryland director of the union, the building has not yet been sold, though potential buyers have expressed interest.
    He was unable to provide more specific details, noting that the sale is being handled at USW headquarters in Pittsburgh.
    USW International has maintained control over the hall, once home to USW Local 9477, since placing the local union under administratorship in February 2013.
    Since then, USW officials, including local 9477 financial officer Mike Lewis, have worked to wrap up business at the hall.
    That process, Strong noted, is nearing its end.
    “As for day-to-day business, that’s pretty much completed,” he said.
    USW’s administration of the local’s remaining affairs is tentatively set to end on Oct. 1. What happens after that remains uncertain.
    As The Eagle reported last week, Laughing Wolfe Resources director Tracey Coleman held her final food bank at the hall on Aug. 22.

Strong, however, indicated that the union may be able to accommodate the food bank for another month or two.
    “This is definitely something I would consider,” Coleman said, noting that she would contact the union and attempt to make an arrangement.
    The hall will also continue to provide a meeting place for the Retirees of Steelworkers United Local 9477.
    Upon taking over the hall, USW committed to providing or paying for a meeting location for the group for five years.
    As Strong noted, the sale of the building will come with the condition that the buyer commit to providing meeting space for the retirees.
    While Strong indicated that there is no set timeline for the sale of the building, he did say that USW headquarters would like to proceed with a sale “as soon as possible.”