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FROM THE VAULT: News from the Wednesday, March 12, 1980, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 3/11/20

Workforce at Dynamic Steel walks off the job

Practically the entire workforce of Dynamic Products Co.’s Middletown plant are on strike.

Some 100 workers out of 110 of the United Electrical …

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FROM THE VAULT: News from the Wednesday, March 12, 1980, edition of the Press & Journal


Workforce at Dynamic Steel walks off the job

Practically the entire workforce of Dynamic Products Co.’s Middletown plant are on strike.

Some 100 workers out of 110 of the United Electrical Union Local 173 are striking the local steel fabrication industry for reasons of poor and dangerous working conditions at the plant.

Dynamic Products Co. is located in the former Orr & Sembower Plant at the western end of the Borough of Middletown. The company is involved with steel fabrication for bridges and road-ways.

Reuben Gadsden, UE representative for the workers, told the Press & Journal that union workers are awaiting a meeting with a committee to secure a written agreement from Dynamic Products Co. so that various safety and health hazards at the plant are corrected.

Dynamic Products Co. Plant Manager Joe Bayura declined to comment on the situation when asked by telephone Friday.

He said that no meetings between unions representatives and officials at Dynamic Products have taken place. When asked if anyone was working at the plant, Bayura stated: “It’s a strike, and there’s nobody working at the plant at all.”

Meanwhile, workers may face loss of job and seniority. Letters have been sent to the striking steel workers from plant officials stating that “failure to return to work immediately shall be deemed your voluntary resignation and all seniority shall be forfeited.”

Bayura signed the letter, which referred to the strike as “unwarranted.”

Heading the list of grievances the workers have against Dynamic Products is the lack of heat in the plant. In the beginning of January, the company turned off the heat completely, Gadsden reported.

“Their reasons for this was that the cost of fuel to heat the plant was too expensive,” he said.

Gadsden also said that the company’s chairman of the board visited the Middletown plant in January and agreed with workers that working conditions due to the lack of heat were unfit. But according to Gadsden nothing was done to correct the conditions, even though word was given that the situation would be rectified.

“We, the workers, are just about fed up with the situation in that plant,” one striking worker said while walking the picket line at the entrance of Dynamic Products. “When its 16 degrees outside in the middle of winter, it’s 10 degrees and even colder inside the building. And to clear the fumes from welding so that you can safely see you have to open doors and that lets more cold air in.”

Gadsden related that the situation of poor heating at Dynamics is no new problem at the industry. He explained that last winter was also a frigid one for workers at the plant with the lack of heat also a problem.

“Since 1978 when the union began at Dynamics there has been problems we’ve been trying to get solved and get corrected,” he stated.

According to Gadsden, company officials promised a number of times to work on and correct problems that existed in the plants heating system. “But nothing ever comes from the meeting and agreements they make with us.”

In 1979, a new plant manager at Dynamics told union officials that heat would again be supplied for the upcoming winter months. “We never got that either,” Gadsden said.

He did say that space heaters had been placed throughout areas of the plant.

“There are 14 of them in the entire plant and you have to stand right next to them to even begin to feel them,”” he said. “Seven of the heaters are in the oldest part of the plant, the paint shop where there’s hardly any ventilation at all. To breath you have to open a door and that lets out what heat those heaters have given off and lets in the cold air.”

“The company just can’t say that the union hasn’t tried to work with them to get these problems solved because we have,” Gadsden said. “And for two years we’ve been getting a line from them telling us that the heat will be on, that conditions will be made safe, that all these things will be done when they are not.”

Other strikers on the picket line complained about the faulty machinery used at the plant including a large crane, poor wiring on welders and lack of safety clothes issued.

“There are a lot of things wrong out there and they have promised a lot with no results,” Gadsden said. “We want the plant made safe before we re-enter.”

Public display law on pornography tabled by borough committee

The Middletown Citizens for Decency’s bid for local government to pass a public display law that would prohibit the display of pornographic materials in area businesses was tabled by the local government body.

At Monday's meeting of the Public Safety Committee, Borough Solicitor James Booser reported to Middletown borough councilmen that such an ordinance has been pre-empted by legislation passed by the state General Assembly. Through research, Booser documented where a Philadelphia judge in the Court of Common Pleas ruled on a case that dealt with “girlie magazines” being sold to minors in Philadelphia.

“The judge held that the state criminal code legislation on this subject did pre-empt the field,” Booser said.

He further stated that the contested ordinance went as far as attempting to keep materials, that were called harmful, out of the hands of minors.

The Public Safety Committee did not drop, however, the matter of pornographic materials that citizens contend are being sold in the borough. It was the recommendation of the committee's chairman, Councilman Dennis Lebo, that Borough Council should introduce a resolution that would support current Senate legislation regarding pornographic material.

The resolution would be aimed at Senate Bill 1090 which would place restrictions on the sale and display of pornographic materials.

“The present laws in Pennsylvania with regards to this matter have been determined to be inadequate," Lebo said. "With some corrective wording, this bill would be an effective law and generally it is a good piece of legislation.”

A resolution supporting Senate Bill 1090 will be addressed by Borough Council at the March 17 meeting.

At Monday's meeting, several councilmen voiced their support of laying aside the Middletown Citizens for Decency's request for a Public Display ordinance.

“What I'm saying is that you're not going to get me to vote for an ordinance that our solicitor says is not a valid ordinance," Second Ward Councilman John Enos said.

$19,000 in diamond rings stolen

Four diamond rings of retail value exceeding $19,000 were stolen from Klahr's Jewelry Store on Saturday, March 8, according to Middletown police.

Police are searching for two male suspects who are believed connected in the incident. One suspect was described as being about 6 feet tall, the other about 5-foot-10 and husky. Both were described as being well dressed. One man was reportedly wearing a black shirt with white stripes on the sleeves.

According to the police reports, the suspects entered the local jewelry store at approximately 4:52 p.m. and requested Klahr to appraise a ring.

Mr. Klahr explained that the ring would have to be left at the store.

The suspects stated that they would have to check with the owner of the ring before leaving it at the store, whereupon they left the jewelers but did not return.

After the suspects left, Klahr noticed several diamond rings were missing from a rotating stand in the display counter. Nails in the bottom of the glass were supposedly removed, allowing the suspects to remove the rings.

Police are continuing their investigation.

Hot buys

• 60th anniversary celebration. 1979 Volare four-door, green, now $5,560. 1973 AMC Matador four-door sedan, six-cylinder, red, $760. Nissley Motor Co., Main and Vine streets, Middletown.

• Inflation busters! Spring blouses, $3. Ladies sandals, $4.96. Cloth diapers, $5.27. Breaded pork steak dinner, $1.99. Kresge’s, Olmsted Plaza, Middletown.

• Next time you get hungry for something really good to eat, head for Hardee’s. Two delicious Big Roast Beef sandwiches for $1.89. Hardee’s, U.S. 230 at Nissley St.

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