LTV Retirees Continue To Worry Despite Bush's Decision

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio – President Bush's decision to impose tariffs on steel imports was widely thought of as a victory for an industry that hadn't won anything in quite some time, but some local LTV retirees who stoked northeast Ohio furnaces for years are fuming, 19/43 News' Paul Orlousky reported.

The retirees said that they wanted Bush to "rescue" thousands of people who retired from bankrupt steel companies.

Ray and Donna Lamp raised four children on Ray's salary from LTV Steel. He was 19 years old when he and Donna married, and only 22 when he went to the mill. Now a retiree, he said that he has little patience with politicians who won't act on a pension and benefit bailout.

"Put them in the mill, just take them white shirts off and put them in the mill, and expect them to work like we did," Ray said.

After 37 years in LTV's hot mill, Ray never dreamed that decisions over steel tariffs would affect his ability to put food on the table.

"We don't buy expensive stuff, you know," Donna said. "We have steak maybe once every couple of weeks."

The steaks will get even less frequent now because, at the end of the month, Ray's pension will drop by 40 percent. Also, his medical benefits will disappear. He'll need what's left of his pension to keep his healthcare, while his wife will get left out in the cold.

"Due to the fact that my wife is on one particular medication, they say no way, 'we will not insure your wife at all,'" Ray said.

Donna had hoped to quit her job as a school janitor, but now she'll have to keep scrubbing floors to stay insured.

Ray and Donna will make it, but not in the way that they had imagined when he left the mill for the last time.

"I didn't want to worry about whether or not we're going to have enough money in six months to pay the real estate taxes," Ray said. "The way it looks, we'll be lucky if we do."

One thing that Ray and other retirees are doing to try to change things is to stay in touch with one another. They promise to continue lobbying with letters and bus trips to Washington.