Our Jeff Bonior looks at how manufacturing is keeping one small Alabama town afloat.
As the presidential campaign heads into Ohio and other midwestern states, candidates on both sides of the aisle are talking up manufacturing job loss and trade. The candidates say they'll bring back jobs from overseas — and over at Medium, our own Jeff Bonior looks at one way they could do it.
The Alabama town of Anniston is home to Tyler Union Foundry and M&H Valve, two facilities that manufacture parts used in water infrastructure systems. Both benefited from Buy America provisions initially set up in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and because of that, the facilities have been able to avoid layoffs and permanent job loss. The plants — which run 24 hours a day — provide high quality material needed to rebuild America's neglected infrastructure while also providing good-paying, middle class jobs.
But the piece also looks at how the two factories support the entire community, and it becomes clear that everyone benefits from these manufacturing jobs. As Tyler Union lab technician Brian Smith explained:
“I have seen the hard times when China first started manufacturing and America was buying the water fittings. Man, we were down to 30 hours a week. And it hurt. It really hurt. When the government finally got involved in this it helped us tremendously. If this plant shut down, it would be bad. It would be like a ghost town.”
The Medium piece features insightful interviews with several factory workers, local business owners, and folks from nonprofit organizations that benefit from the two facilities. Give it a read — it's well worth your time.