A Reminder of the Disturbing Consequences of Outsourcing

Jesús Espinoza

Jesús Espinoza Press Secretary, AAM

Sweatshops aren’t anything new. To save a few bucks, many American textile manufacturers have chosen to move jobs abroad to places with “cheap” labor. In fact, nearly the entire textile industry offshored. Some wanted to be able to get away with paying workers very little and not having to comply with regulations that protect workers.

But some sweatshop workers aren’t even paid. This week, the Associated Press (AP) reportedthat the Chinese government is forcing members of religious and ethnic minority groups into secluded indoctrination camps and then forcing them into factory work. This clearly falls under the U.S. and United Nations definition of slavery. That’s not all: It turns out that North Carolina-based Badger Sportswear, which supplies athletic gear to college campuses across the U.S., was actually sourcing its products from one of these camps.

The company announced it was suspending this arrangment while it conducts an investigation. But this case makes us ask an uncomfortable, but important, question: How many of the imported goods Americans use every day are made by modern-day slaves?

This is a grim reminder of why outsourcing has consequences, both in the U.S. and the places where domestic manufacturers send these jobs. American workers lose their livelihoods and then live through the painful experience of seeing their communities destroyed. Workers abroad are exploited—even enslaved.

Out of solidarity with workers everywhere, we can’t support companies that don’t care about the dignity of work and what it means to fairly pay someone for their time and contributions. Buying American-made products isn’t just about supporting American workers. It’s about being an ethical consumer who supports workers and rejects exploitation.

Although cases like this are happening all over the world, it’s an important reminder of the human costs of outsourcing. 

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

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. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work