I worked briefly as a steel worker, but I consider myself more of an honorary member. My dad spent almost 45 years at Wisconsin Steel and he made me promise that I would never go to work in the steel mills. So I embarked in business—the business of politics and government jobs. I worked as an organizer and opened what we call the Friends of Labor back in the days when the mills were still working and there were a number of strikes back then late ‘70s early ‘80s. I was living in the suburbs at the time and working on a strike assistance committee, and I happened to own a building in downtown Harvey with a partner that was the president of a steel worker local that I had helped support and organize, so we became a strike headquarters.
Tom’s phone keeps ringing, and by this point he’s just decided to turn it off. He’s a busy man, but excited to talk about the labor history in Chicago.
You can hardly find anybody in this area that works in steel. There’s hardly any steel manufacturing being done in the city of Chicago, all the big mills are closed. Finkl Steel is going to be moving out here. They’re taking over what formally was Versa-Steel.