June Update from SOAR President Bill Pienta

Honoring Lewis H. Webber, 1941-2022

Unfortunately, I recently attended a funeral honoring the life of SOAR Chapter 4-6 President Lewis Webber. Lew had held an officer’s position in the chapter since 1997 and had served as President of the Chapter since 2008. Before retirement, Lew worked in the maintenance department for Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, N.Y.

My first encounter with Lew was at a meeting held by then-Senator Hillary Clinton regarding former employees who had been exposed to radioactive material while working at the plant.

Lew spent many years and countless hours fighting for and assisting workers from Bethlehem Steel and other companies in processing claims with the Government to ensure that former employees and their families received whatever settlement they were entitled to. Lew became involved with this many years ago, and he learned how to navigate through the Government red tape and provide employment documentation after a plant that was shut down. Lew did this even though he was not entitled to any settlement.

Lew, along with members of his chapter, could always be seen at protests, demonstrations, meetings or picket lines in support of USW members and their issues.

I had asked him to show support to the ATI workers who were on strike by showing up at the picket line, and without hesitation, he replied that he would be there and bring his members with him. He then added that although he could not walk the line because of his health and limited ability to walk, he would show up and bring refreshments for those who could walk the line.

Lew Webber never asked the Union for anything. He would only ask what he could do to help the Union or what help he could offer to the active and retired members. Lew is now resting, and I am incredibly saddened that he is gone but very honored to have known him and been able to call him a friend.

Rest in peace, my friend.  You will be deeply missed by your SOAR family, alongside the many other workers and families whose lives you’ve touched.

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