Remaining mills carry on Valley’s steel legacy after Black Monday

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of Black Monday — the day Youngstown’s first big steel mill, the Campbell Works of Youngstown Sheet and Tube, announced it was closing.

At its peak, it’s estimated that 50,000 people were employed in steel and steel-related jobs around Youngstown.

Over the next ten years following Black Monday, many of the steel-related jobs were gone. But not all of them.

McDonald Steel closed for a short time in the early ’80s, only to reopen and thrive again.

WKBN archives chronicle Youngstown’s struggles after Black Monday

Two weeks ago on a Wednesday afternoon, McDonald Steel’s famous 14-inch shape mill hot rolled D-bars used to reinforce railroad tracks.

“They’re not building mills like this nowadays. The market just isn’t big enough,” said Tim Egnot, president of McDonald Steel.

McDonald Steel formed in 1981 from what was left of U.S. Steel’s Mahoning Valley operations.

The 14-inch mill was built in 1926 and though some of it has been rebuilt, much is original.

Ray Fowler has worked in steel for 48 years — all of it inside the McDonald mill.

“Probably the most diverse mill in the country, maybe even in the world,” he said.

Fowler said when he started in 1969, there were about 3,500 people. Today, McDonald Steel employs about 100 people, making products for whoever wants to buy them.

“Bridge grid, bridge expansion joints,” Fowler said.

“If you’re driving a Jeep Cherokee, all the hinges on the Jeep Cherokee come from this mill here in McDonald, Ohio,” Egnot said.

Bill Clark is another survivor of Youngstown’s steel industry.

“Other than the last year and a half, business has been slow. Other than that, we were always booming,” he said.

Clark has worked at the McDonald mill for 47 years.

“If you had the 14 mill, that was the moneymaking mill in this plant,” he said.

The men running McDonald Steel are really hoping the federal government passes an infrastructure bill with “Buy American” provisions.

“It’s going to help us a lot because it’ll eliminate some of the foreign competition that we’re experiencing now,” Egnot said.

But even with slow business now, there’s still optimism for the future.

“It’s important to the folks in the greater Youngstown area to have a steel industry and we intend to be here 40 years from now,” Egnot said.

More stories on Black Monday

There are still 73 steel-related companies in Mahoning and Trumbull counties employing 4,000 people — a number that includes Mercer County, too. This does not include spinoff jobs.

  • American Wire and Shapes — Struthers
  • Arcelormittal USA, LLC — Warren
  • Arconic Titanium-Engineered — Niles
  • Bar Processing Corporation — Newton Falls
  • Bayloff Stamped Products Kinsman, Inc. — Kinsman
  • Bral Corporation — Warren
  • Bull Moose Tube Company — Masury
  • Converse All Steel Services, Inc. — Canfield
  • Coronado Steel Co. — Youngstown
  • Ellwood Engineered Castings — Hubbard
  • Erie Concrete and Steel Company — Warren
  • Flexangle Corp. — Austintown
  • Flex-Strut, Inc. — Warren
  • Hynes Industries, Inc. — Youngstown
  • International Steel and Counterweights, LLC — Youngstown
  • Kenilworth Steel Co. — Warren
  • L B Industries, Inc. — Struthers
  • Latrobe Specialty Metals Distribution, Inc. — Vienna
  • Lawrence Steel Services, Inc. — Hubbard
  • LB Steel, LLC — Warren
  • Liberty Geneva Steel LTD — Youngstown
  • Liberty Steel Pressed Products, LLC — North Jackson
  • McDonald Steel Corporation — McDonald
  • Metal Service Co. — Warren
  • Metalico Youngstown, Inc. — Warren
  • Mid America Sales, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Munroe, Incorporated — Struthers
  • New Middletown Metal Products LTD — New Middletown
  • Niles Iron & Metal Co., LLC — Niles
  • North Jackson Specialty Steel, LLC — North Jackson
  • Nuflux, LLC — Cortland
  • Oakes Foundry, Inc. — Warren
  • Ohio Star Forge Co. — Warren
  • Ohio Steel Sheet & Plate, Inc. — Hubbard
  • P & L Heat Treating & Grindings, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Phoenix Supports — Niles
  • Procon Metals, Inc. — Vienna
  • PSK Steel — Hubbard
  • Quality Bar, Inc. — Struthers
  • Quality Match Plate Co. — Southington
  • Quality Metal Works — Youngstown
  • R B Fabricators, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Reichard Industries, LLC — Niles
  • S & S Welding, Fabricating and Machining, Inc. — Newton Falls
  • Select Steel, Inc. — Niles
  • Sharon Steel — Brookfield
  • Specialty Pipe & Tube, Inc. — Mineral Ridge
  • Taylor Steel, Inc. — Warren
  • The Florand Company, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Therm-O-Link, Inc. — Warren
  • Thomas Steel Strip Corporation — Warren
  • TMK IPSCO/Premium Oilfield — Brookfield
  • TMS International, LLC — Girard
  • TPC Metals, LLC — Youngstown
  • Tube and Pipe Solutions, Inc. — Girard
  • U S Extrusion & Steel Corp. — Mineral Ridge
  • United Steel SVC, Inc. — Brookfield
  • United Steel SVC, LLC — Brookfield
  • Vallourec Star, LP — Youngstown
  • Vari-Wall Tube Specialists — Columbiana
  • Vulcraft Sales Corp. — Youngstown
  • Warren Fabricating & Machining — Warren
  • Warren Precision Heat Training — Warren
  • Webco International — Youngstown
  • Western Reserve Metals, Inc. — Masury
  • Wheatland Tube Co. — Warren
  • WT Pettit & Sons Co. — Girard
  • Youngstown Bending & Rolling, Inc. — Warren
  • Youngstown Heat Treating & Nitriding, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Youngstown Pipe & Steel, LLC — Youngstown
  • Youngstown Specialty Steel Service Center, Inc. — Hubbard
  • Youngstown Tube Co. — Youngstown
  • Zekelman Industries, Inc./Wheatland — Niles
  • Zekelman Industries, Inc./Wheatland — Warren

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