PITTSBURGH – Steelworkers, environmentalists and student progressive groups erected a 15-foot effigy of AK Steel Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Richard M. Wardrop, on the University of Pittsburgh city campus Feb. 12. The Steelworkers union/Clean Water Action student coalition protested the university’s selection of Wardrop as “Outstanding Employer of the Year” on Lincoln’s birthday.

AKSteel refused to negotiate a new contract with USWA at their Mansfield, Ohio mill in September 1999. While union members went out the front gate, the corporation unloaded scabs from buses in the back door.

Steelworkers worked under a union contract at the mill for decades. Instead of negotiating with the union, AK has spent millions on a vicious media campaign branding steelworkers, many of whom are veterans, as “terrorists.”

Meanwhile, in Houston, Kaiser Aluminum Corporation joined 29 other metals corporations in filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Aluminum workers are members of the USWA. Two years ago, Kaiser closed two plants in Washington State claiming skyrocketing west coast electricity costs. Aluminum manufacturing depends on massive amounts of electricity to produce the basic material for aircraft. Kaiser is owned by Maxxam Group, Inc., a real estate outfit run by financier Charles Hurwitz.