Workers risk boss’ steely glare

The nickname Steelers is a tribute to Pittsburgh’s famed steel industry and its dedicated workers who helped build our country.

If there’s ever an occasion when steel workers deserve a day off – especially those in Pittsburgh – it’s Sunday to watch their beloved Steelers play the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.

But U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works told its employees not to miss work Sunday or Monday without a valid reason, preferably one that doesn’t involve football. That warning went over as well as a Big Ben interception.

Union vice president Tom Conway suggested in an e-mail to executives there could be ways to work out concerns about lost productivity. He proposed asking for volunteers and making up any lost time over the following week as well as throwing a post-shift party to see a game replay.

“This would be a better approach to this weekend than your threat of SEVERE discipline … whatever that means,” Conway wrote, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in an e-mail that alternated paragraphs between black and gold.

Conway’s suggestions seem reasonable, especially considering workers might not be fully focused on their jobs. Plus, throwing a bone to the employees would boost morale and make company executives look like the good guys.

It wasn’t lost on Conway that Mon Valley employee relations manager Preston Henderson is from Philadelphia. Conway wrote Henderson “may not be as flexible and that this is just some kind of Eagles sour grapes being displayed here.”

Good thing Henderson’s not from Baltimore. Workers’ pay would be cut in half Sunday.

■ BAN THIS AD – With a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl costing about $3 million, some advertisers have found a way around paying such an exorbitant fee while still getting their word out.

They make ads they know will be rejected by network television, then post them on YouTube for free with some sort of Super Bowl banned heading. Budweiser and PETA are among those featured prominently after a quick search on the website.

And it’s not just YouTube. The Internet is full of stories about banned ads, one for a website aimed at coordinating extramarital affairs.

Banned ads often draw thousands of viewers, gaining plenty of bang for no buck beyond production costs. But that’s not the same as 100 million viewers for the ads that actually make the airwaves. always hits both targets, and you can bet Sunday’s telecast will be filled with more Danica Patrick-featured ads that are equal parts sexy and sophomoric.

■ GAME’S OVER – There’s no need to watch the Super Bowl. EA Sports’ popular Madden video game has a winner.

In the Madden simulation, the Steelers beat the Packers 24-20, with Ben Roethlisberger completing about a 40-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace with 1:20 left. Ryan Clark then clinches the victory with an interception on Green Bay’s final possession.

EA Sports has correctly picked six of the past seven Super Bowl winners, including the New Orleans Saints’ victory last season.

Base your weekend wagers on this at your own risk.


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