Category: From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Put Some Made in America Spring in Your Step This Easter and Passover

Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover or just enjoy the fun traditions that originate from these holidays, we’re sharing our favorite Made in America items for spring’s religious holidays from our archives.

EASTER

Easter is a traditional religious holiday in the Christian faith celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But it's also a holiday that includes a bit of fun — and much of that fun starts with Easter Eggs. 

Eco eggs are a great option for those who want to include treats in their eggs during Easter egg hunts. Not only are they Made in the USA, they also are eco-friendly, manufactured from 100 percent renewable content and are fully compostable. The eggs — made from non-toxic, durable, plant-based plastic — are available in two sizes and come in five assorted colors (pink, yellow, green, blue and purple). The company also manufactures eco grass to help fill out that Easter basket. Eco grass is made from 100 percent post recycled paper and is 100 percent recyclable after use, so you can easily dispose of it in your paper recycle bin. 

But if you are looking for a more formal egg, be sure to check out the selection offered by the White House Historical Association for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. The 2019 White House Easter Egg collection is available now; you can buy a single egg or the entire set of five colors -- all Made in the United States. In 2017, Wells Wood Turning & Finishing of Maine supplied eggs for the White House's iconic event. 

Looking to dye your eggs? Check out Doc Hinkle Easter Egg Dye. Unlike ordinary dyes that must be diluted, Doc Hinkle's paint-on kit helps egg decorators create "beautiful, bright colors and patterns instead of dull single-colored eggs." Colors included in the kit include red, blue, yellow and purple, which can be combined to create new hues.  

You are going to need a place to put all those eggs, and Peterboro Basket Co. and Charleston Sweetgrass offer a variety of sizes, shapes and colors.

More ...

Trump’s Trade Deal with China Might Not Tackle Industrial Subsidies

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

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

We’ve been closely monitoring trade talks between the United States and China, and we’ve gone on record to note that there are a couple of ways things could go. The two countries will either reach a historic deal that requires China to play by the rules of global competition — or the agreement will be a dud, making a few superficial changes but mostly maintaining the status quo.

Well, score one for the status quo.

Reuters reports that “U.S. negotiators have tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal after strong resistance from Beijing.”

Instead, negotiators are focusing on issues they see as more achievable, including ending forced technology transfers, strengthening protection of intellectual property and opening up China’s markets.

Look, addressing technology transfers and intellectual property is vital, and U.S. negotiators are right to focus on them. Ditto for further opening up China’s market.

But by abandoning the issue of industrial subsidies in these talks, the United States is giving a green light to China to continue to cheat the global trading system and put countries and companies that play by the rules at a disadvantage.

Case in point: Steel.

President Trump put a 25% tariff on steel imports in April 2018 in response to surging foreign imports. Now, you’ve probably heard about those "Section 232" tariffs — they’ve garnered a lot of criticism from the Acela Corridor set — but what is often missing from the conversation is that despite Trump’s bluster, there was a very legitimate reason why he issued those tariffs.

More ...

New National Poll: We Want Infrastructure, and We Want it American-made

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

What do Americans agree on?

Not much, man! They don’t agree on what’s the best place to get a sandwich or where to live (to settle this debate: the best place to get a sandwich is actually here, everybody). But they doagree that it’s a good idea to avoid talking politics over Thanksgiving dinner.

They also agree on this: A new poll shows that basically everybody, regardless of political affiliation, thinks the federal government should put a boatload of money into infrastructure projects and they should attach Buy America procurement policies to those dollars. Buy America rules get the support of 80 percent of us, the poll found, while only 15 percent of respondents oppose them.

It’s true. While President Trump – the same guy from this commercial – and congressional Democrats wrestle over the release of his tax returns the rest of us, according to the bipartisan poll conducted by Mark Mellman and Bill McInturff, would rather they prioritize infrastructure spending. According to the poll, we want it more than a lot of other policy proposals.

It’s pretty remarkable, and it isn’t anything new; every year polling returns similar results. Here's 201820172016, and 2015. And this consistent popularity isn’t lost on politicians. The president, for example, is down in Texas today to show off a couple of executive orders that are meant to fast-track energy infrastructure development.

O.K., Mr. President, that’s some good politicking … But voters want that infrastructure to be American-made, by American workers, so that the economic benefits from federal spending stay in American communities. And the last couple of executive orders the president has already rolled around on these very topics – building out energy infrastructure and making more federal spending American-made – have been all bark and no bite. They haven’t gone anywhere!

More ...

‘This Mill Is Everything in This Community.’

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Researcher, AAM

A year after Section 232 tariffs on imported steel were put in place, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul returns to Coatesville, Pa., to sit down with local steelworkers and examine how the city is faring in the latest episode of The Manufacturing Report podcast.  

Though a flood of foreign imports threatened the future of Coatesville’s mill, a critical contributor to U.S. national security as a supplier of specialized armored plating, the tide has begun to turn. 

The mill, which has shaped the community for more than 200 years, has hired over 50 new employees over the last year with employment sustained at 535 workers. And more than 600 applicants have applied to join them, steelworkers Vonie Long and Fred Grumbine report in the episode. 

Though workers at Coatesville’s mill are certainly seeing the benefit of their mill’s recovery following Section 232 trade action, the entire community is in the midst of a revival. Peter Lymberis, co-owner of Little Chef restaurant in Coatesville, has seen the bustle of work at the mill and the resulting orders for his restaurant for himself.

“This mill means everything,” Grumbine said. “For a few years now, we’ve been going through a revitalization here, but I see big things back on the horizon. We were at a stalemate there for a while, and I feel that if we didn’t have the mill here, we couldn’t get back to it. The mill is everything in this community.”

More ...

The Opportunity for a Chinese Trade Deal Is There, If Trump Can Seize It.

Scott Paul

Scott Paul Director, AAM

As negotiations enter the finer points of the deal next week, it’s vital that Trump leverage the momentum his administration has cultivated in the trade talks and truly address China trade cheating.   

Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul writes in the Washington Examiner:

Trump, meanwhile, has prepared the ground to make it more favorable to U.S. negotiating positions. The threat of lasting tariffs on most Chinese exports into the American market has made an impression; it has added billions in costs to Chinese businesses, and therefore has drawn the Chinese side to the bargaining table.

It’s no easy feat to persuade China’s economic managers to make structural reforms to a wildly successful mercantilist model that would result in more parity for U.S. trade interests. It remains to be seen how far a deal will go.

Most likely, it won’t go far enough. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been working diligently through a prescribed set of issues with his Chinese counterparts. Based on some reports, they’ve been able to make more progress on some issues, such as forced technology transfers and IP theft, than on others, such as scaling back state-owned enterprises and improving enforcement mechanisms. Those unaddressed issues may be the most important results of what will eventually come out of this.

And still, the window of opportunity is open. The time to deal is now.

More ...

Will Trump Sink Structural Changes in Exchange for Soybeans?

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Writer/Researcher, AAM

Ahead of Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He’s return to Washington, D.C. for yet another round of U.S.-China trade talks, China’s priming the pump for a potential deal. Yet, Beijing hasn’t shown signs of true compromise when it comes to the objectives as the heart of the talks: stymying China’s abuse of state subsidy programs for industry, intellectual property rights and forced technology transfers.

This Monday China announced it would finally ban production and export of fentanyl-related substances, which have fueled an epidemic of addiction in the U.S. – an action long overdue. Additionally, China purchased 828,000 tons of U.S. soybeans this week – its second soybean purchase since the start of U.S.-China trade negotiations. All of this is good but fails to address any of the systemic problems that have unfairly advantaged China in trade.

As Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul illuminated in a RealClearPolitics opinion, prioritizing Chinese purchases of U.S. commodities like soybeans and natural gas over structural changes would sacrifice the leverage the U.S. trade team has cultivated for the sake of a quick, easy solution.

Indeed, boosting U.S. exports to China may have disastrous consequences in leaving U.S. industry increasingly dependent on China as The New York Times recently reported and American semiconductor companies warned against.

China’s attempt at luring the Trump administration into believing its recent actions signal willingness to conclude trade negotiations while refusing to advance to a market-oriented economy should all come to naught if U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer continues to steer the course of negotiations. Lighthizer has repeatedly attested that he refuses to settle for anything but a deal that truly addresses China’s unfair trade practices.  

No rest for the weary…

More ...

The Lordstown Workers Gave Up a Lot in an Attempt to Save Their Plant

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

A couple of weeks ago President Trump offered a helpful tweet to the autoworkers in Lordstown, Ohio, who had just lost their jobs after GM shut down their plant.

April Fools! It wasn’t helpful at all. The president just told the United Autoworkers local president, who represents a bunch of Ohio residents who are now weighing uprooting their lives and moving to a new GM facility against unemployment, to stop complaining:

Way to go, Mr. President! He’s just tellin’ it like it is, on Twitter. He tends to say stuff like thisabout unions whenever he catches heat (on a TV channel he watches) from a union leader for not following through on his specific promises to save American manufacturing jobs. A common suggestion is to “lower dues,” as if organized labor hasn’t done anything to keep production in unionized plants.   

Well, organized labor isn’t a monolith and not all unions operate in the same way, but the United Autoworkers in Lordstown were very accommodating to GM in their last round of contract negotiations before the company shuttered the plant. They were agreeing to what the company called a “super competitive operating agreement” in an attempt to ward off layoffs … which came anyway.

Seriously, just read some of this stuff from Bloomberg:

To cut costs, the UAW merged Locals 1112 and 1714, which saved the company $3 million a year in administrative costs. Then the union agreed to outsource non-assembly jobs like handling of parts and materials to lower-wage workers employed by a subsidiary called GM Subsystems LLC, according to a document reviewed by Bloomberg.

Next, they allowed GM to cut the number of skilled tradesmen including electricians, pipe fitters, mechanics and die makers in half to 130 by letting the company contract out for overtime skilled-trade work and by changing job classifications, said Scott Brubaker, who was chairman of Local 1714.

The union allowed outside firms to send in contractors to repair supplier parts and assembled vehicles at the plant. It also agreed to drop the number of extra workers employed to cover absentee workers to 60, from 150.

More ...

Members of Congress Want Natural Gas Exported to China to Travel on U.S. Ships

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

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

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived in China on Thursday for continued trade talks.

There’s a lot the two nations are expected to discuss this time around – intellectual property, state-owned enterprises, forced technology transfers – and while it remains unclear whether any meaningful progress will be made, it does appear the two nations are inching toward a deal.

Meanwhile, two lawmakers are turning their attention to an issue that hasn’t been getting a lot of press, but could have big implications for U.S. job growth and competitiveness when a deal is finally reached.

Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) wrote to Lighthizer, Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross this week asking the three to ensure that U.S.-flagged and crewed vessels “play a key role” in the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to China.

There’s growing speculation that China will agree to purchase $18 billion worth of natural gas from the United States as part of the eventual U.S.-China trade agreement. While that is good news for the domestic natural gas industry, Garamendi and Wicker also point out that unless U.S. officials step in, those LNG exports will “almost certainly be on foreign-flag vessels operated by foreign crews.”

The U.S.-flag international fleet has declined by nearly 60 percent since 1991 to just 80 vessels. Considering the fleet’s importance to U.S. national and economic security, this certainly does seem like something that needs to be addressed.

More ...

Things are Better for the Steel Industry Thanks to Recent Trade Action — But China Still Looms

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

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

It’s been about a year since the Trump administration implemented its “Section 232” trade action, and steel industry officials told Congress on Wednesday they are seeing the positive effects — investments in facilities across the country, thousands of new jobs, raising wages, and even small business growth in local communities.

But nobody is breaking out the champagne quite yet.

“Right now, the steel industry is in what I would call recovery. Times are better than they’ve been in a long time,” said Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers. “But let me just say this: Chinese overcapacity still exists… We can’t sit idly by and think that just because things appear to be good they’re going to be good forever. We’ve got to make the recognition that the cheaters still exist.”

The labor leader’s message was echoed by steel executives who also testified at the annual Congressional Steel Caucus hearing. Officials from steel companies and associations noted that tariffs placed on steel imports have allowed the industry to finally begin to stabilize after facing an onslaught of unfairly traded imports, mainly from China.

The 232 tariffs have led to a decrease in imports and an uptick in domestic production. More than 12,000 new jobs have been announced across the steel and aluminum industries since the 232 investigation launched; $18.2 billion in investments also have been announced. Recent bargaining agreements between the Steelworkers union and several companies have led to raises and even bonuses for tens of thousands of workers.

U.S. Steel, for example, is investing at in several facilities across the country. In Granite City, Ill., the company restarted two blast furnaces that had sat idle since 2015, creating 800 jobs. In Lone Star, Texas, 140 new workers will soon be making products at a tubular mill that shut down in 2016. In Fairfield, Ala., the company is resuming construction of an electric arc furnace, a project placed on hold in 2015. About 600 workers will help build it, and 150 new employees will run it.

More ...

Trade Committee Gets an Earful on Workers’ Rights in the USMCA

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

The USMCA – the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement, the trade deal that will serve as an update to NAFTA – has been signed by the heads of government of those three countries.  

But the deal was negotiated before the U.S. midterm elections in November when Democrats took control of the House. And Congress has to ratify trade deals that the United States will be a party to before they can take effect. And the president and congressional Democrats don’t often get along! This could become a problem for the White House.

Enter President Trump, most famous before winning the 2016 U.S. presidential election for his supporting role in the 2002 romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice, who is now getting involvedin whipping votes for the deal. The president is gonna rely heavily on his boys, the House Republicans, to move it. But even if he gets every GOP vote, it will still require Democratic support to gain a majority.

And yet that Democratic support is no sure thing. To begin, the deal will only get a vote in the House if Speaker Nancy Pelosi allows one. Bloomberg reports:

Pelosi is expected to only move the deal through the House if she can find a critical mass of her caucus supporting it and if she extracts concessions unrelated to trade from the White House in return, senior congressional aides say.

The administration is trying to build that critical mass. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, President Trump’s chief trade negotiator, has spent time on Capitol Hill meeting with House Democrats to try to assuage their concerns about the deal – particularly its provisions on the environment, pharmaceutical drug prices, enforcement and labor.

More ...

Union Matters

Higher Taxes & Broken Promises

From the AFL-CIO

While many Americans are frustrated by smaller refunds this Tax Day, major corporations like AT&T are celebrating billions in massive giveaways, courtesy of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  

The tax bill, which was signed into law in 2017, dramatically cut the corporate rate tax from 35% to 21%. This led AT&T’s CEO to vow that the company would create at least 7,000 jobs.

Instead, AT&T has eliminated more than 12,000 jobs since the law took effect.

At the same time, the corporation’s annual report shows the company increased executive pay and suggests that after refunds, it paid no cash income taxes in 2018.

More ...

A Moral Imperative

A Moral Imperative