Many cities are turning to streetcars to ease congestion and reduce carbon emissions, but until recently, no U.S. manufacturer was meeting the growing demand. Then in 2005, Oregon Iron Works, Inc., seized the opportunity, forming United Streetcar to produce state-of-the-art, modern streetcars. After winning a competitive bid from the city of Portland, OR, United Streetcar rolled out its premiere tram in 2009—the first American-made modern streetcar in nearly 60 years. The company is now using its 250 union workers to build additional streetcars for Portland, and its cars are also operating in Seattle, WA, and Tucson, AZ.
Oregon Iron Works’ longstanding relationship with the Ironworkers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has allowed United Streetcar to build a collaborative, empowering partnership with its workers. Shop-floor design meetings bring worker ideas in at the ground level, and the company actively solicits employee feedback on all projects and processes, making the company “better, stronger, and more cost-effective,” according to United Streetcar President Chandra Brown. “The union is helpful and can be an important piece of the company and its success,” she says. Read more »
Down in Memphis, Tennessee, Sharp Solar and its 385 union workers are bringing good manufacturing jobs back to the United States, all while providing residential, commercial, and utility customers access to clean energy. The company assembles solar panels with the partnership of its skilled employees and their union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Read more »
When Colorado passed groundbreaking renewable energy legislation in 2004, Shawn Josserand saw an opportunity. The voter-initiated policy mandated utilities to begin generating electricity from renewable sources, and empowered homeowners and businesses to generate their own electricity—in effect, creating a modern day “clean energy gold rush”.
As a master electrician and longtime member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Josserand combined old fashioned entrepreneurship with progressive views about labor relations to make installing renewable energy sources easy and efficient for all Coloradans. Based in Golden, Colorado, Josserand’s business—Golden Solar—installs solar panels for residential and commercial clients using 100-percent union labor. The company handles all phases of design and installation, and has quickly earned a reputation for exceptional quality, outstanding customer service, and high standards. Read more »