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United Streetcar

In Partnership With:  IBEW, IW 

Moving full steam ahead to bring streetcars and good jobs back to America

At a Glance

United Streetcar, LLC, a subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works, Inc., provides a green urban transit option to cities across the United States. Formed in 2005, it is a premier producer of U.S.-manufactured modern streetcars.

Headquarters
Clackamas, OR

Website
www.unitedstreetcar.com

Industry
Manufacturing & Transportation

Union Employees
Approximately 250 production, manufacturing, and electrical workers

Annual Revenues
$120 million

Outlets
Two manufacturing locations in Clackamas, OR and Vancouver, WA

More cities are turning to streetcars to ease congestion and reduce carbon emissions, but until recently, no U.S. manufacturer was meeting the growing demand. 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 U.S.-produced modern streetcar in nearly 60 years. The company is now building 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. One symbol of the company’s pride in its workforce can be found on its prototype tram, which was signed by many of the workers who helped to build it.

United Streetcar is doing more than creating green jobs in the Portland area: its dedication to using U.S. suppliers is reigniting an entire industry. Orders with United Streetcar create or save jobs at vendors across the country, from fiberglass and flooring to seats and wheel sets. The company produces the first modern streetcars to comply with “Buy America” provisions: 70 percent of its trams’ components are domestically produced, and the company is striving to use entirely U.S.-made components.

Company president Brown describes this “in-sourcing”—bringing streetcar manufacturing jobs back to the United States from Eastern Europe—as key to revitalizing the nation’s economy. United Streetcar is truly a model for the new, clean energy economy: helping expand energy efficient transit solutions, U.S. manufacturing, and good, union jobs.