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Three American Factory Workers Talk About How President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment Plan Will Help Manufacturing

Published Wednesday, April 7, 2021
by www.AmericanManufacturing.org
Three American Factory Workers Talk About How President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment Plan Will Help Manufacturing

There’s a lot of talk in policy circles about infrastructure, but how would a robust investment package effect Manufacturing Workers in communities across the country?

President Joe Biden has officially unveiled The American Jobs Plan, his proposal for rebuilding American infrastructure, shifting to a clean energy economy, and strengthening critical manufacturing and supply chains.

While most of the chatter around the plan has centered on what’s happening on Capitol Hill, American Manufacturing wanted to find out what Factory Workers think about a potential infrastructure investment package.

In a new occasional Q&A series, American Manufacturing asked people working in manufacturing facilities for their thoughts on infrastructure, including how investment may impact their job and what kinds of improvements are needed where they live.

First American Manufacturing talked to Randy Beightol from Williamsport, Pennsylvania - a Member of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 4907 who’s employed at Lonza Incorporated.

Q.: Tell us a little bit about your job.  What sort of products do you help make and what is your role in making them?

Beightol: Lonza makes a wide array of products for the pharmaceutical, biotech and specialty ingredients markets.  We also provide solutions for composite materials and processing additives for technically demanding industries, like electronics, transportation and aerospace.  We also provide chemicals for many industrial applications, such as agro intermediates, food and feed ingredients, cosmetics, and custom development and manufacturing.  My position at the plant is Skilled Chemical Operator.  Manufacturing industries have had a number of ups and downs over the past several years, including layoffs and plant closures, both temporary and permanent.

Q.: Has this impacted you at all? 

Beightol: Our manning has been pretty consistent over the years and we are actually hiring at this time.

Q.: President Biden is proposing a major investment in U.S. infrastructure, including everything from fixing roads and bridges to building electric vehicle charging stations.  Would an investment like this mean more business for your plant?

Beightol: Yes, because of the end market for our products go into things such as construction, water treatment, and transportation - along with many other products.

Q.: What sorts of infrastructure improvements are needed in your community?

Beightol: Along with the normal culprits, roads and bridges, here in Williamsport, emergency funding is being requested for repairs to the Frank E. Heller Dam – recently classified as a high hazard with a potential risk for residents of Armstrong Township and South Williamsport and additional economic impacts for the Greater Williamsport Area.

Q.: Do you think infrastructure investment will help Manufacturing Workers overall?  If not, what would you rather see the government doing for Workers instead?

Beightol: Infrastructure investment will absolutely help Manufacturing Workers.

American Manufacturing then spoke with Seth Skalnik of Empire Alabama, a Member of USW Local 1013 Fairfield who’s employed at the United States Steel Corporation.

Q.: Tell us a little bit about your job.  What sort of products do you help make and what is your role in making them?

Skalnik: Our plant makes tubular products for the energy sector such as gas and oil exploration.  Fairfield Works also has a coil coating line that galvanizes coils for appliance housings and steel stamped products. 

Q.: Manufacturing industries have had a number of ups and downs over the past several years, including layoffs and plant closures, both temporary and permanent.  Has this impacted you at all?

Skalnik: Yes.  U.S. Steel shut down its Blast Furnace and steel making facilities in Fairfield in August of 2015 and was deemed a closure for our steel making facilities.  The Pipemill and Dualine (Coating Line) stayed operational.  I was able to be recalled to the Pipemill in May 2017 to continue my career with the company.  With the addition of the company building the new [Electric Arc Furnace] facility in Fairfield, some past employees and new people have been recalled and rehired.

Q.: President Biden is proposing a major investment in U.S. infrastructure, including everything from fixing roads and bridges to building electric vehicle charging stations.  Would an investment like this mean more business for your plant?

Skalnik: Because of our specialty of goods we manufacture, I don’t think it would have much of an impact for more business at our location.  However, other steel manufacturing facilities across the Nation would probably see an increase in production.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Story, Go To: www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/qa-three-american-factory-workers-on-how-infrastructure-investment-will-help-manufacturing/?fbclid=IwAR0AH3a0zmVyxppYU_BeE2SNBFMFLzP5q0QKOLXB0BrbVqZG5l5Kefsgc28

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