CEO and Valley congressman talk ‘dirty’ steel, green steel during walk-thru at Wheatland Tube
WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – As Valley Congressman Tim Ryan walked through Wheatland Tube’s plant in Warren Wednesday morning, CEO Barry Zekelman said American steelmakers need help with foreign dumping.
“We encourage the Biden Administration to continue and strengthen these trade measures,” Zekelman said.
Ryan’s visit coincides with an announcement by management at the plant to invest $30 million to add an automated warehouse system they say will improve productivity and worker safety.
At a time when many companies are struggling to find employees, Zekelman doesn’t want to risk losing the 150 workers here.
“I want to keep our people. I want them to stay here. I want this to be the choice place to work, to be attracted here,” Zekelman said.
In addition to pressing for fair trade practices, Zekelman said President Joe Biden talks about improving the environment, but he’s not doing enough to boost manufacturing for things like wind turbines and solar panels.
“We’re giving tax incentives for green energy and we’re shipping all these jobs and buying that material from the world’s worst polluter to solve our energy demand. That’s insane,” Zekelman said.
Ryan says if Washington can help limit foreign steel dumping, U.S. companies can succeed in making the products the administration wants.
“If we say we want to make American steel that’s the greenest in the work, and we’re going to put tariffs on those people who cheat and who make dirty steel, then you are going to create millions of jobs here in the United States,” Ryan said.
Wheatland’s biggest customers are those using the tubing made there for commercial sprinkler systems.