The Edgemere community rejoiced when purchased the Sparrows Point steel mill and began recalling laid off workers in March, but that joy turned to fear this week as many workers were told not to report to work.
In response, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz sent a letter Thursday to John Goodwin, the president and chief executive officer of RG Steel, LLC, requesting additional information regarding the current plant closure at the Sparrows Point steel mill and offering support. The letter stated:
Dear Mr. Goodwin,
The recent uncertainty regarding the future of the steel mill at Sparrows Point has been very difficult for the men and women who have a proud tradition of steelmaking in eastern Baltimore County. Thousands of workers and their families depend on steel making for their livelihood—plus thousands more who work for suppliers and businesses related to the Sparrows Point mill. Each of us who respect the work that they do has a responsibility to assist during the current economic challenge.
There are numerous rumors circulating regarding the future of the plant. Those rumors range from the plant closing for an extended period to the reopening of certain operations in a matter of weeks. The absence of information has made it very difficult for Baltimore County, the state, and federal government to mobilize the services that the men and women of Sparrows Point need.
It would be very helpful if you could provide specific updated information regarding the current work stoppage as soon as possible to Dan Gundersen, executive director of economic development in Baltimore County. Baltimore County government stands ready to assist its steel workers during this time of change and uncertainty, and this information will be very helpful as we move forward. Our workforce development team will work with RG Steel, the United Steelworkers union, and our state and federal partners to be sure workers have timely information about training opportunities, unemployment benefits and other resources available to them.
It is my sincere hope that RG Steel is committed to operating a viable steel mill at Sparrows Point for years to come.
Very truly yours,
Baltimore County Executive