“People always saw Sparrows Point as a big mega-place … and now that it’s gone, it’s like an empty void.”
Jeffrey Mikula worked at Sparrows Point for thirty eight years. He entered the year after High School and within months, he realized that this workplace would provide all he needs to raise his family in Dundalk. Being a native of Dundalk, Jeffrey is saddened by the shutdown but also proud and thankful of the opportunity of being employed there. Mikula believes that working at Sparrows Point provided its workers with a community, an honest living and a family that will be treasured in memories for generations. (Written by Matthew Blaney, UMBC student)
Hi, I’m Jeff Mikula. Worked down at the plant for over thirty-eight years and started in 1973 and was a maintenance worker at the plant and then at the end I was the president of the local union here up until May of 2012.
What was neat about the Point it was a melting pot of all the different ethnic generations and different people, it was wild. You had Italians, you had blacks you know, you had the whites. You had all different people and it made up you know, the most of your day you work eight to ten, twelve sometimes sixteen. And you worked with everyone and you had to get to meet them because you live with them more basically than you were at home throughout your work day. And each person is different in a unique way and you get to see them and the personalities. It was neat for me; it was a good thing, very good thing.
No one ever thought that steel would shut down. The great giant that built ships at the shipyard and for the military might this country and the manufacturing part in the state of Maryland. People resist change, and when you lose your livelyhood after thirty-eight years and there are other ones to younger ones you know with fifteen- ten years, there is even some that had two years. It’s a drastic change in your life and the change of unknown brings a lot on you. The plant at Sparrows Point you can say what you want, it provided a good living for a lot of people. And you could work as much as you want and all but at the end when you “chhh,” its chopped you don’t know what you don’t have until you don’t have it because we were blessed with the good benefits a decent wage and all.
All the generations of the people that work there and the different ways if affected everyone’s life you know. And the people always saw Sparrows Point as a big mega place you know. And now that it’s gone it’s like an empty void. You know, you ride down by there and luckily they put the star of Bethlehem this year from Thanksgiving to Christmas, a lot of people wanted that and they did do it. (Edited by Kayla Martinez)