The dollar’s value might be dropping, but that’s good news for companies like Tamco Steel Mini-Mill in Rancho Cucamonga.
Tamco is exporting steel “for the first time in a long time,” according to Jim Mengler, safety facilitator at Tamco and recording secretary for Local 8065 United Steelworkers union.
The company — owned by Pasadena-based Ameron International Corp. (NYSE: AMN) — manufactures reinforcing bar for the construction industry.
As the nation’s currency falls in value compared to other currencies, it makes our goods cheaper in foreign countries.
“We got an OK for a new furnace,” Mengler said during a phone interview on Friday while attending the United Steelworkers Constitutional Convention in Las Vegas. “We’re hiring like crazy.”
The company might sign off on buying a new roll mill, caster and other equipment fairly soon.
“That’s probably going to be $140 million in upgrades,” Mengler said. “We’ve never had an upgrade like that. That’ll allow us to go from (producing) 500,000 tons a year to 1 million.”
Like Mengler, thousands of local members from United Steelworkers, which represents a variety of manufacturing employees, are attending the constitutional convention from June 30 to July 3. It’s held once every three years.
Most important, members are voting on whether to have 3 extra cents taken out of their hourly wages for a strike-and-defense fund.
“That’s the most important thing right now,” said Richard Van, president of Local 8599, which represents Fontana Unified School District employees. “The money will run out if we don’t raise the amount we send in.”
The latest blow to the union’s local chapters: cement plants. The housing market has taken its toll on ready-mix cement plant workers and drivers, forcing hundreds of layoffs.
“They’re just not pouring slabs like they used to,” Van said about the industry.