Union rally at mall stresses economics
Spend money, buy American, and keep America working, a rally organizer urged.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- The time has come for Americans to show their patriotism in economic terms, a rally organizer said here Wednesday.
"Let's support ourselves, and we'll be safe, and we'll keep each other working," said Linda Howard, who organized a rally of The Women of Steel (United Steelworkers of America) District 10 at Shenango Valley Mall.
Howard, an employee of Werner Co. in Greenville and a member of USW Local 3713, challenged retail stores to display signs listing the American-made merchandise they sell.
"Put up a sign in front of your stores showing people what is American made. We will buy it," she told the several dozen rally participants, mostly women.
"We would like to see people come and shop. Let's keep our economy strong."
E-mail warning: The rally was organized after Women of Steel members received e-mail from unknown sources warning people to stay away from shopping malls on Halloween in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"By doing things like this, we're defeating that fear. I think we just need to keep carrying on with our normal everyday activities," said Sherryl Giles, a Hermitage police patrolwoman, adding that the public should have confidence in the ability of local law enforcement agencies to protect their communities.
Under a full moon and mild weather conditions, the event began outdoors with a candlelight vigil, during which participants sang "God Bless America" and heard remarks from several speakers.
After the rally, they extinguished their candles and marched through the mall.
Participants: Many of the participants were women employed by local companies, including Werner, Dufuerco Steel in Farrell, Sharon Tube Co., Wheatland Tube Co., and Reznor in Mercer. Mercer County Commissioner Olivia Lazor and Sharon city councilwoman Chris Outrakis attended.
The rally and march through the nearly deserted mall coincided with Halloween, massive American job losses because of foreign steel imports, and a slump in retailing, during which an outdoor sign at the mall proclaims "Half Off."
Women of Steel was founded about a decade ago to address workplace and other issues facing women steel workers.