Demise of Bethlehem Steel

Topics: Steel, Pension, Steel Workers Organizing Committee Pages: 3 (908 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Bethlehem Steel’s Demise

Founded in 1857, Bethlehem Steel was America’s second largest steel producer and largest shipbuilder. It was the backbone of the first blasting furnaces, coal, nuclear reactors, warships, cargo vessels and other major infrastructural accomplishments. Bethlehem Steel was headquartered in Pennsylvania dominating the economy and small city of Bethlehem with 7200 people. It had been around for over hundred years but now is a piece of American history disappeared forever declaring bankruptcy in 2001. So what has caused the giant steel producer to become bankrupt that created the first wide flange steel beam in 1907, used to build the Golden Date bridge and 85% of New York’s skyline. In my research I have examined the reasons that took the company from being the top steel producer in early 1900’s to become bankrupt in 2001. Many different theories exist for what caused the demise of Bethlehem Steel. The Unites Steel Workers of America is no doubt a great existence but like most of the things it had its own positive and negative impacts in mid-1900. As the company was focusing more on management department, they ignored the wants of the workers. Manufacturing and working conditions of the workers at Bethlehem steel was miserable. Most of the workers were not able to make a livable wage or receive any kind of benefits; in fact they were used to get fired for almost anything. Many of them were killed due to the faulty machinery, accidents or coke works of the factory. In short the conditions were not at all favorable for the workers. Finally the workers went to strike and formed a union called the United Steel Workers of America. After the union was formed conditions of the workers change as companies were forced to give minimum wages and various benefits such as short break during their shifts, pension plans, retirement plans etc. It established a good quality of life and improved working conditions for workers....
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