Milwaukee To Be Built With U.S. Steel?
Zielinski's ordinance requires this for developers getting city funds.
Ald. Tony Zielinski introduced legislation to the common council that would make it mandatory for any construction project in the city with public financing use U.S. manufactured steel.
Zielinski said the ordinance is consistent with his longstanding “Buy American philosophy.”
Zielinski has been behind a number of ordinances mandating the city purchase goods manufactured in the states. Notably, he was behind the ordinance requiring the city to purchase U.S. manufactured cars, as well as a highly publicized effort to require police uniforms not be made by companies that traffic in sweatshop labor.
Now that development in Milwaukee is booming greater than any other time in recent history, Zielinski said he hopes to capitalize on that.
Under the legislation, any steel or iron products “incorporated into the building or other structure” of a development funded “in whole or in part” with public funds must use steel produced in the U.S.
And by “produced,” Zielinski means that every stage of production “from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings,” as the ordinance text reads, must occur in the U.S. Also, anything manufactured in the U.S. using “semi-finished steel or iron of foreign origin” won’t count as domestically produced under this legislation.
“The most important thing to me is the American worker,” Zielinski said.
The legislation is assigned to the Milwaukee Common Council‘s Community and Economic Development Committee, it next convenes May 18. Zielinski said he doesn’t currently have any data about where the steel used in Milwaukee development projects comes from.
“I’m still in the process of getting more information before it comes up,” he said. “I want to hear what everybody has say.”
Zielinski said he is still meeting with and talking to parties in the construction and development industry.
But added that the local United Steelworkers is, “100 percent in support of this resolution.” A United Steelworkers representative could not be reached for comment.
Zielinski went before the Milwaukee County Labor Council to stump for his new ordinance and asked union workers to call their local alderman in support of the legislation. A few in the crowd spoke up in support of what Zielinski presented.
“What’s been killing working class people is shipping these jobs overseas where they can exploit workers for economic gains,” he said. “So I’m doing everything I can on the city level.”