SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -Working for Kaiser was and still is a big deal. These manufacturing jobs pay very well if you have a high school degree plus a year or two of college or trade school. You can make anywhere between $60K-$90K plus benefits. Those union jobs are still there but are far, and few between there used to be more - much more.
Nearly 20 years ago Kaiser Aluminum closed down it's Mead smelter. Over a thousand employees lost their jobs when that plant closed. On top of that, there were four to five support jobs attached to those. So it's easy to see how losing that plant was a body blow to Spokane's economy. Resulting in everything to population loss to increases in crime "We have been in a trade war for nearly 25 years, and we have been on the losing end of that. These tariffs are going to create more of a level playing field," said United Steelworkers 338 President Dan Wilson.
Wilson can't speak for Kaiser, but he believes that Spokane - like before - brings a potent mix of positives to the table when it comes to manufacturing jobs "We have tremendous potential here in the northwest because of our hydroelectric power. We have the people here. We could definitely support manufacturing and more of it, so the potential is there," added Wilson.