I want to introduce you to some of the people I am meeting on our bus tour. I’ve always believed transportation is more than steel, concrete, and asphalt; it’s ultimately about the people across America – those who work to build it and those who use it (all of us).
Yesterday, I met Wayne Cupp, the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine, and Furniture Workers – Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA) Local 84765 President at the Siemens motor plant in Norwood, Ohio.
Photo courtesy of Siemens
Wayne has been building motors for Siemens since 1976. He started out working in the local Camaro plant in 1970. Just before it closed, he left for Siemens, where he’s building motors for everything from large construction equipment to Amtrak locomotives.
Wayne is like so many people I meet across America – he knows his stuff, he’s earnest, hardworking, and proud of what he builds.
During our tour, I asked him whether the motors he’s building have been placed on the new Amtrak locomotives Vice President Biden and I celebrated in Philadelphia a few weeks ago.
“Yes,” he said. “Have you ever ridden one of the trains you’ve helped to build?” I asked. “No, but I look forward to it one day,” he said.
In 2007, Siemens faced a decision about the Norwood plant – expand or close. They chose to expand and that expansion coincided with the most significant injection in rail in at least a generation – the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
Later, Amtrak applied for a DOT loan to buy new locomotives and sourced the motors from Siemens. Each motor is expected to last 30 years.
Seeing Wayne and all of the workers at the Siemens plant inspired me. They are living, breathing examples of the connection between transportation and jobs.
Wayne is rebuilding America. He told me he’d love to build some high speed rail trains. If our bill passes, Wayne will have plenty of work to compete for – and I hope we can build a network that he can finally ride on.