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Randy Duncan

“It changes your perspective on things. It kind of consumes you.”

Charles Randy Duncan was a long time Sparrows Point Steel Mill worker. He started working at the Mill in August 1957 and was there as a full time employee until February 1988. A year later, he went back to work at the plant as a part time employee as a tour guide until 2012. Throughout his career at Sparrows Point, Randy had many jobs and stories to tell. He has seen the Mill evolve throughout the years and all the changes the Mill has gone through.  He touches on points such as the sheer size of the Mill and how the people that worked at Sparrows Point had a tight bond that was woven through the hard labor and sense of community that all the employees shared. We get an inside perspective from the man who knows every piece and function of the Mill like the back of his hand. His passion and enthusiasm for his job is expressed well by the amount of time he worked at the Mill, knowledge and stories he shares with us. (Written by William Jenkins, Stephanie Smith, Bishop Pradhan and Julianna Gillis, UMBC students)

 

My name is Randy Duncan and I’m a long time Sparrows Point Steel Worker. I started at Sparrows Point in August of 1957.

At the steel plant it was  a lot of  family, extended family working there. If you looked at the, the plant phone book you’d see a lot of last names, that’s just the way it was at that particular point in time. My wife worked at Bethlehem Steel. I worked at Bethlehem Steel, my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, and my father-in-law.

The odd thing was that my wife worked mostly 12 to 8 shift. She was a, a nighttime supervisor for the information services department. Working those shifts like that, me working daylight, her working 12 to 8. She was working while I was sleeping and vice versa.

And consequently I end up learning how to cook because  she would be working 12 to 8. She would be sleeping all day. I would come home and get supper for me, breakfast for her because she was getting-up from sleeping all-day, but she learned to sleep during the daytime and  I slept during the night. It was, it was just something you did.

I very seldom if ever saw her at the steel plant nor any of my other in-laws that worked there. My sister-in-law, she used whatever influence she had to push me along at the steel plant and see that I had a decent job.

It changes your perspective on things. It kind of consumes you. The fact that my wife worked there and the rest of my family worked there I mean it just, it just seemed the natural thing to do.  (Edited by Gina Gribben)

 

My name is Randy Duncan and I’m a long time Sparrows Point steel worker.

I started at Sparrows Point on August 1957, and I worked there as a full-time employee until February of 1988. And I retired. By November of ‘88 I’d gone back to work as a part-time employee. June 21st, 2012 the last day I worked at Sparrows Point

And, none of you have been to Sparrows Point I take. It’s a shame It was so huge…

There were a lot of jobs that were created, I think maybe mine was one of them, to accommodate somebody that was coming in for work. They called it nepotism. Let’s see my wife worked at Bethlehem Steel, I worked at Bethlehem Steel, my sister-in-law, my bother-in-law, and my father-in-law, all worked at Bethlehem Steel.

I got a call from my old boss who was a purchasing agent, real nice guy, we got along good. He said, how would you like to come back to work as a Tour Guide, he! That’s when I really started to learn about the steel plant, and get a better insight on how things worked.

Well, in hindsight management did a lot of dumb things. Maybe that’s a big reason they are out of business today …a lot of bad decisions, mismanagements, but overall they are responsible for everything I have today.

It kind of consumes you… I had a son that was born in ‘63, I believe it was. And working those shifts like that. Me working daylight, her working 12-8. She was working while I was sleeping and vice-versa, so it ended up kind of me being Mr. Mom and consequently, I ended up learning how to cook!  (Edited by Sabrina Chicon)