Oakland Grown AB&I Foundry Celebrated its 113th Year

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AB&I Foundry team members volunteer to clean up their neighborhood in October 2018. Photo by Lara George Photography.

The AB&I Foundry ob­served its 113th year in busi­ness by inviting their neighbors to join in a celebration of their century long tenure in Oakland on Aug. 17.

The open house was attend­ed by elected officials, union representatives and a variety of community members, like Pastor LJ Jennings of Kingdom Builders Christian Fellowship.

“One hundred thirteen years! That is an amazing legacy, of great working-class jobs that pay a family supporting wage,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

“I am very excited to work alongside of you to make sure that you are here for many cen­turies to come,” Schaaf said.

Michael Lowe, the gen­eral manager of the foundry said the foundry employs 225 people with high-paying, blue-and green-collar union jobs. This includes 80 families that live in east Oakland and many more that live in other parts of the city.

AB&I, located at 7825 San Leandro St., Oakland, takes auto scraps and other metal products destined for landfill and turns them into pipe and plumbing fittings, supplying the plumbing systems for many of Oakland’s largest buildings, explained Lowe.

Established in Oakland in 1906, the foundry special­ized in small iron and brass castings. Today, the company is one of the country’s larg­est manufacturers of cast iron drain waste and vent plumbing products.

“We want to be part of Oak­land for generations to come,” Lowe said.

“To provide high-paying. union jobs that build the fabric of Oakland society. And in or­der to do so, we recognize that we need to provide even more value to the city,” said Lowe.

The company is actively involved in clean-up efforts to mitigate illegal dumping with community-based organiza­tions, according to Oakland Vice Mayor Larry Reid and Council President Rebecca Kaplan.

The company also works hard to promote employment opportunities for East Oakland residents, who live in an area where unemployment rates are persistently more than double those in other parts of the city.

By promoting employ­ment for East Oakland resi­dents through such groups as the Men of Valor foundation, which was founded by Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts-Full Gos­pel Church, they are able to support job training, life skills and re-entry services for for­merly incarcerated Oakland residents

AB&I’s team members have also provided countless vol­unteer hours at local schools, libraries, and the Alameda County Food Bank.

“You know what an impor­tant role AB&I plays in making sure that we recover the met­als we use… We don’t want to waste anything,” said State Senator Nancy Skinner. “Any­thing that is a valuable resource, we want to use it again, again, and again. That’s how we pro­tect our planet. That’s how we protect our people. That’s what AB&I Foundry does.”

California’s air quality and environmental regulatory re­quirements are among the toughest in the country, said an AB&I spokesperson. He cited their use of state-of-the-art pol­lution control technology as a basis for the foundry to meet and, in most cases, exceed California’s strict standards.

“Here at AB&I, we are able to provide growth and devel­opment opportunities through jobs where engaged, moti­vated, and ambitious people have the ability to learn and develop strong trade skills in manufacturing right here in Oakland,” said Kurt Winter, Executive Vice President of the McWane Plumbing Group, parent company of AB&I Foundry.

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