Grafton Steel was the center of economic development for the town of Grafton, and its large, industrial machines at Grafton Steel Mill continued to churn out steel for the war effort when the Sino-American War began. Selected as a government-preferred war contractor, the biggest employer in the valley suddenly had an opportunity to crush labor laws and ignore environmental regulations. Effective immediately, all shifts began working a 6/72 schedule to make the production quota. Only minute alterations were made to the free time: 12 hour shifts were granted a half-hour for lunch at the work station and three fifteen minute breaks, with additional time-and-a-half pay only for the 11th and 12th hour of each day. Sick time was also no longer paid and a doctor's note was required for any and all absences. Although spun by the HR department into an opportunity for the workers, it was a terrifying decrease in working conditions. Coupled with deep corruption and collusion with the government (kickbacks, wink-and-nod inspections, bribery, etc.), Grafton Steel was given free reign over its business.
By 2077, this resulted in rampant devastation of the ecosystem, accelerated by dumping toxic sludge directly into the waterways, and mounting numbers of injuries and death among the workers. Ignored by the company's owners, most importantly CEO Arthur Wood, the situation deteriorated steadily. In order to maintain the pretense of being a company that cared about its workers, Grafton Steel routinely manipulated statistics. For instance, the first quarter figures for deaths, dismemberment, and sickness in 2077 were horrible. However, the infamous HR manager, Stacie Tibbetts, altered them at the CEO's behest to only include events that took place on the premises and sicknesses confirmed by the company doctor. 31 deaths became 2, 12 dismemberment were reduced to six, and 123 counts of sicknesses were down to 13, all numbers that the shareholders and the regulatory board could handle. By June, the situation was so bad that the only viable option going forward was to shut the mill down, but Governor Evans refused to even entertain the notion - even if it meant strikes. Other workers, like Darius Angler, opted to walk as well, rather than continue risking life and limb to line the pockets of "U.S. capitalists." Ultimately, nothing changed, as Arthur Woods and his staunch ally, Stacie Tibbetts, continued to squeeze the workers.
The company tried the usual heavy-handed tactics, such as continuing to automate the mill, intimidation and sacking troublesome workers like Otis Pike. However, they could not stave off the inevitable. Plummeting worker morale and Pike's agitation for better safety standards at the mill were all contributing factors. Although fired and reported to the authorities as a suspected communist, in addition to facing charges of treason under the Wartime Workers Act, Pike continued his work. The strikes finally hit in September 2077, following up on a string of sabotage attempts at the mill. The striking workers shut down the mill. Sudden loss of steel production from the city resulted in Sugar Grove launching a surveillance operation, to root out suspected communists and saboteurs responsible for damage to what was a vital war asset. Out of desperation, Pike kidnapped Arthur Wood's son, Freddy, to force the CEO to invest in better safety features. Wood, ever adamant, refused to consider doing so, as it would necessitate shutting down the plant for a time, and the steel was needed by the war effort. In his own words, he would let his only son go to save the country from communism.
All of these efforts proved to be for nothing. Grafton Steel's contribution to the war effort was meaningless, as the war culminated in a nuclear conflagration that destroyed the country and the Woods with it. The last laugh also belonged to the workers: Darius Angler dumped a special concoction into the furnace, causing the refinery's smokestacks to blanket the region in a thick, white powder that wiped out most of the plant life and animals, granting the region its new name: the Toxic Valley.
Grafton Steel is mentioned only in Fallout 76.
- Important memo
- Darius Angler's manifesto, part 3: "I've uncovered a conspiracy between the government and Grafton Steel. Kickbacks, wink and nod inspections, bribes, you name it. There's no telling how big this is. I think they bugged my house, so I've moved to a cabin in the woods where nobody can find me. Yesterday I had to shoot a woman. She claimed she was just hiking, but I know she was an agent sent to spy on me."
- Letter to the media
- Confidential safety data
- Charleston Capitol Building terminal entries; Governor's terminal, Grafton Steel
- Darius Angler's manifesto, part 1
- Woods Estate terminal entries
- Notice of termination
- Sugar Grove terminal entries; project director's terminal, 9-20-77: Grafton Communists
- Diary of Otis Pike
- Darius Angler's manifesto, part 6