Labor News From Our Region
Grandstanding won’t build America; buying American-made, union-made products will
In a unique joint venture to help promote American-made services and products, the United Auto Workers has teamed with the Labor 411 Foundation to create a special “American-made” website, buildbuyusa.org.
The mission: “…bringing back the well-paying and sustainable manufacturing jobs that supported all of us for generations. It’s also about the small choices we make every day. Through the power of our wallets, we can reward employers who respect worker rights and the environment, who hire from the community and give back to those who help us all grow. We can have the future we want, but it won’t happen through grandstanding or flag waving. By working together, our actions and choices can change the future. It’s that simple.”
The “Build USA” focus is on:
• Developing policies and strategies to bring manufacturing back to America, and by rewarding those companies who do manufacture in America.
• Establishing industrial policies to create the next generation jobs. It smartly asks, “What does it say about our nation when we give companies economic subsidies to build factories that will pay our citizens less than what taxpayers are giving the companies to locate here?”
• Rewarding workers for working harder and smarter. It points out that the average American factory works produces three times the good than were produced in 1978.
“Since 1980, the manufacturing sector has more than doubled its output, while shedding one-third of its jobs largely due to automation and lean manufacturing. Innovation is often driven by the workers who contribute to the overall success of the company. Efficiency translates to profits which, too often, are not shared with those who produced the results.”
• Improving globalization and trade policies. Pointing out that too many corporate decisions are driven by maximizing profits, it calls for “prioritizing the interests of workers, the environment and entire communities, we can develop trade policies where everyone benefits, ” making the point that “balancing the health of corporations with the need to build strong communities is vital.”
When Americans buy American-made, union-made products, it keeps good paying jobs in America and builds our economy.
• Every full-time manufacturing job creates 3.4 full-time jobs in non-manufacturing industries.
• 19 percent of food we consume is imported, of that 20 percent are fresh vegetables and 50 percent are fresh fruits. Meanwhile, diseases from imported foods are on the rise.
• Buying American products ensures a fair wage for workers. Sadly, around the world, 168 million children ages five to 17 are forced into the labor workforce, with 85 percent working in hazardous conditions.
• National security. Too many critical military hardware components are made outside the U.S. One example: 91 percent of the rare-earth element needed for night-vision goggles is imported from China.
• Environmental protection. Foreign companies show little regard for any environmental standards. As an example, of 14,000 Chinese companies inspected, 70 percent violate air pollution standards.
WHERE TO BUY AMERICAN?
This is the most crucial element of the website. It lists 10 websites that promote American made, union-made products.
A “Buy In America” law passed in 1933 has many loopholes that allow American firms to slide through. A new bill — “The Make It In America Act, Senate Bill 908 — proposed by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will close those loopholes.
A July 2017 survey by Reuters found that 70 percent of Americans said it was important to buy America-made products versus imported products. Congress needs to hear that message.
We encourage you to contact your Senator and Representative and demand their support of SB 908.
Labor 411 is a one-stop resource for people who want to buy union-made goods and services.
No matter what product or service you might need, Labor 411 has a directory that’s appropriate.
According to the site’s mission statement: “Labor 411 is committed to building a national Buy Union, Buy American movement as a means of improving the safety and economic well being of union workers and their families.
“We are committed to working hand-in-hand with Labor to organize the unorganized and mobilize our members’ political and purchasing power so workers can create a better life for themselves and their families.”