Pete DiPietro

“The best thing about working in the plant was the friendship, the community of the fellow steelworkers. Remembering all the good times you had sitting on the lunch benches, sitting around the lunch table with the guys discussing their personal lives you know. It was like coming into work, sitting with your morning coffee. First thing you do, hi Joe, hi Ed, what’s up. You didn’t know their last names. You knew their first names and their nicknames. It was your second family. Believe me it was. You knew those people as well as you did your family members. That part I don’t think I will ever forget. The Deacon, Ph, Spaghetti Bender. Evil Knieval. You knew people by nicknames. You knew them by first names. Most of the time they would call me Pete.

The worst thing about working there for me was, for me, investigating the deaths while I was president. Every time I was called in, the deaths, I was there. I was there for when a person got burned up beyond all recognition. He eventually died from that. He was a good friend of mine. That was the worst of the job. Investigating the deaths, talking to the family members afterwards. We helped create a monument over there on 8th avenue and Union Boulevard when I was president of the union. We created this monument dedicated to not only steelworkers, but to people in the Lehigh Valley who lost their lives or who were injured in the workplace. We also created a scholarship which to this day stands. Those were the hard times. Over nine hundred people killed in the Lehigh Valley in the workplace, and we have a memorial service the closest Sunday to April 28th every single year. Three hundred, just steelworkers alone! And that’s only from 1941 when they started to keep their records through OSHA.”