The White House is Celebrating Made in America Week — But Not Without Criticism

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, we live every week like it’s Made in America Week.

But the official Made in America Week is currently happening, and President Trump has a whole host of activities lined up to celebrate.

The fun kicked off on Monday at the White House with the “Made in America Product Showcase,” which highlighted an American company from every state. On Wednesday, the president is scheduled to participate in a “Made in America certification event,” and on Thursday, the president is planning a “Made in America announcement.” Things wrap up Saturday in Norfolk, Va., where Trump will attend the commissioning of the Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 aircraft carrier.

But almost as soon as he announced Made in America week, Trump was criticized for not practicing what he preaches. Multiple news outlets have pointed out that many Trump brand products are made overseas, and frankly, some of that criticism is deserved. Here’s the Washington Post:

“For Trump, highlighting U.S.-made products is inconsistent with his practices as a businessman. For years, the Trump organization has outsourced much of its product manufacturing, relying on a global network of factories in a dozen countries — including Bangladesh, China and Mexico — to make its clothing, home décor pieces and other items.”

The Huffington Post also pointed out that Trump’s use of steel and aluminum from China was a big issue during the 2016 presidential campaign, and the president’s daughter/adviser Ivanka Trump is also under fire for her reliance on overseas factories to produce her fashion line. The Daily Beast traveled to the Trump International Hotel in Washington to check out the goods in the gift shop, which had a Made in America T-shirt but nearly everything else for sale was manufactured overseas. (Side note: We offered up some American-made suggestions for the hotel back in September 2016.) 

Even the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner ran an op-ed pointing out Trump’s hypocrisy on Made in America.

“’America First’ sounds good when you are the president, but, we all know that whenever money’s been on the table in his extravagant, Napoleon-like penthouse in Manhattan, it’s always been ‘Trump First,’” contributor Mark Vargas wrote.

Ouch.

It’s unclear what might come out of Made in America week — past theme weeks have been overshadowed by current events, often at Trump’s own making. And there’s no doubt that Trump has divided the country, with his opponents pledging to fight him on all fronts.

But whatever you think of Trump, we hope that you can get behind Made in America.

We’ve featured many of the companies taking part in the White House showcase on the blog and our annual gift guide, and our summer interns even talked about their favorite Made in America companies on The Manufacturing Report podcast this week.

American-made goods create jobs and help grow the economy. If every American committed to buying $64 worth of American-made purchases each year, 200,000 new jobs would be created. If contractors increased use of American-made materials by just 5 percent, an additional 200,000 new jobs would be created.

American-made products are also better for the environment, from consumer goods to big industrial needs like steel and aluminum. That’s one of the reasons why a deeply blue state like California is moving toward buying its steel locally — American mills abide by strict environmental guidelines, leading to less pollution to both produce steel and ship it to where it is needed.

And American-made products are often of higher quality than their foreign-made counterparts. There have been serious concerns over China’s lax safety regulations, for example, from everything from toothpaste to toys to dog treats and even processed chicken.

Made in America matters. It’s also perhaps one of the few issues that Americans tend to agree on — 95 percent of voters polled in 2014 had a favorable view of American-made products.

We know that you can’t always buy American-made, but we encourage you to do so when you can. Check the label when you are out shopping, for example. Do a little research on American-made options before making a big purchase like a home appliance or new car.

And we also hope that Team Trump finally steps up and shifts Trump Organization product manufacturing to the United States (Ivanka Trump should also work to manufacture at least some of her clothing line here). Even moving production of just one or two items would go a long way to showing Trump isn’t all talk when it comes to Made in America — and it will support job creation and the economy along the way.

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Reposted from the AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work