Walking the Line at Wheeling

Steelworkers call their first major strike in 26 years

Hugging the eastern bank of the rust-colored Monongahela River, the mammoth Wheeling-Pittsburgh steel plant has long dominated the town of Monessen, Pa. (pop. 12,000), situated in the shadow of the Allegheny Mountains 40 miles south of Pittsburgh. Last week the mill was conspicuous for another reason. Hit by the first major strike of the United Steelworkers in 26 years, the Wheeling plant stood idle.

The walkout began after Wheeling imposed an 18% reduction in wages and benefits for its 8,200 workers in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The company, which filed for bankruptcy on April 16, acted after a federal judge...

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