Our Bethlehem Steel

featuring the creative efforts of local artists dedicated to preserving the oral and visual history of life 'down the steel.'

Richie Check

steelworker, storyteller, author

Richie Check worked at Bethlehem Steel, as a rigger, for 43 years.  He is one of 12 family members who, together, spent a total of 441 years working in Bethlehem Steel’s south Bethlehem mill.  Richie’s father, Michael Check, Sr., came to Bethlehem from Czechoslovakia in 1910 and worked for 42 years at the steel mill.  Of his 14 children, nine sons and one daughter worked for Bethlehem Steel.  Richie’s son Richard Check Jr. also worked two years at the plant while studying at Lehigh University.

Richie Check learned his trade in a Bethlehem Steel apprenticeship program, and worked as a rigger for most of his 43 years at the Steel.  Richie worked all over the South Bethlehem plant, as well as spending a short time at Bethlehem Steel’s plant in Steelton, Pennsylvania.

Richie retired July 31, 1994.  He then became a founding member of the Steelworkers Archives, Inc., an organization devoted to preserving the legacy of steelworkers.  Richie has worked as a guest speaker for the Steelworkers’ Archives, speaking at organizations across the Lehigh Valley from nursing homes, to historical societies, to colleges such as Moravian, Lehigh, and Lafayette.

Richie has also been a resource for many documentary films on Bethlehem Steel.  He appears in Bruce Ward’s A View From the Inside, the PBS documentaries Bethlehem Steel: the People who Built America and Bringing New Life to Old Steel, and Anisa George’s Building America in Bethlehem.  He is a featured worker in the Historic Bethlehem Partnership and Steelworkers’ Archives 2012 exhibit The Steel Way of Life.

Richie is currently writing his autobiography to be published soon and available here online.

For Groups and Organizations

Riche Check is available for speaking engagements, lectures and talkbacks following film-showings. (see Bruce J. Ward's page for info re. Steel History DVDs in which Richie appears.)

For Additional Information and Bookings, please contact Richie:


515 Selfridge St
Bethlehem, Pa, 18015

Phone # 610-691-1433