“In the midst of the worst recession since the 1930s, Union Foundry has managed to expand its workforce in the past year,” Davis said. “This company is in better shape in every sense of the word than most other companies in the country. I love to see a success story.”
Davis, who is a current U.S. Representative, toured the Anniston foundry Wednesday before speaking briefly to more than 20 hardhat-wearing employees about his ideas for the economic future of Alabama. Davis’ trip was part of a larger tour to multiple factories during the past week to drum up support for his candidacy in the waning days before the Tuesday primary, where he will face off against Alabama Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks for the Democratic nomination for governor.
During his speech, Davis touted foundry’s recent hires – noting about 84 jobs had been added at the facility in the past year.
“We’re about where we need to be,” said Ken Brown, assistant general manager at Union Foundry. “We’ve gone back from a three-day-a-week to a five-day-a-week work week. And we’re still hiring.”
The foundry, which currently has 346 employees, produces ductile iron utility fittings.
Brown said making up for a drop in inventory last year and improvements in the economy have helped the foundry get back on its feet.
Davis said it would be up to people like those working at the foundry to bring Alabama through the recession.
“The key to this company’s long-term success is the men and women standing in front of me,” Davis said. “And we’re about to enter a time in this state where, like Union Foundry … Alabama is going to come out better than it’s ever been and like Union … the future of the state will be based on our people.”
As governor, Davis said, he would support businesses like Union Foundry, which is pushing to improve itself and supports its employees.
“We need to put government in Alabama on the side of businesses doing the right thing … businesses that are expanding, treating workers right and getting cleaner and safer,” he said.
Davis added that as governor, he would work to create more state support for unemployed workers, including offering unemployment benefits for part-time workers and for women who had to stop working due to injuries sustained from domestic violence.
“We have some of the weakest unemployment insurance in the country,” Davis said. “Alabama is a state not doing enough to protect our people. We’ve got to do better.”
If elected, Davis said, he would fight for hard-working Alabamians.
“I will be a governor who will fight for men and women like those standing in front of me right now, but I’ve got to have you to get there,” he said. “We have to change Alabama to make us better.”
Contact staff writer Patrick McCreless at 256-235-3561.