Made in China? No, Made in the USA

Made in USA, Made in China

Prices for coal, natural gas, oil and the fuels made from crude such as gasoline and diesel are all far less expensive than they have been in recent years, delivering big breaks for consumers and decimating energy company profits and leading to huge layoffs. (Eric Gay, Associated Press file)

For years, we’ve been hearing about the decline of the middle class, especially among our communities of color. It is happening across America, including in Colorado. Read more of this post

How to Save U.S. Manufacturing Jobs

By Howard Wial @CNNMoney February 23, 2012: 5:34 AM ET

Howard Wial is a fellow for the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.

At first glance, manufacturing jobs would appear to be a dying breed.

The United States lost 6 million manufacturing jobs between early 2001 and late 2009. And despite small gains during the last two years, the trend in manufacturing employment for the last 30 years has been downward.

That has led some to argue that long-term job loss in the industry is inevitable. But our research shows otherwise.

There are two common versions of the “inevitability” argument. One holds that U.S. manufacturing wages are too high to be internationally competitive. The other maintains that manufacturing job losses are the result of productivity growth. Both arguments are wrong. Read more of this post

This Column Was 100% Made in America

A Hyundai ad that ran during Super Bowl coverage showed workers from the company's plant in Montgomery, Ala.

A Hyundai ad that ran during Super Bowl coverage showed workers from the company's plant in Montgomery, Ala.

By   Published: February 15, 2012

BLUE-COLLAR workers in fields like manufacturing — particularly when they make products on American soil — are again becoming a favorite subject for white-collar workers on Madison Avenue.

The trend was born of the economic worries that followed the financial crisis in 2008. Recently, it is gaining steam — appropriate, since the ads often use blasts of steam to signal something is being built — with proposals in Washington to offer incentives to encourage the location or relocation of factories in the United States.

“We continue to see very heavy emotional response to anything that would leverage against the bad economy,” said Robert Passikoff, president at Brand Keys, a brand and customer-loyalty consulting company in New York. Read more of this post

GE to Hire 5,000 U.S. Veterans, Investing in Plants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Electric Co plans to hire 5,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years and to invest $580 million to expand its aviation footprint in the United States this year.

The largest U.S. conglomerate unveiled the moves ahead of a four-day meeting it is convening in Washington starting on Monday to focus on boosting the U.S. economy, which has been slow to recover from a brutal 2007-2009 recession.

“We should have the confidence to act and to restore American competitiveness,” Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, a top adviser on jobs and the economy to President Barack Obama, said in a statement.

The U.S. unemployment rate — seen as the main barrier to a move vibrant recovery — fell to a near three-year low of 8.3 percent in January, helped in part by the manufacturing sector adding about 50,000 workers. Even with that improvement, 23.8 million Americans remain out of work or underemployed, which is keeping the economy a key issue heading into November’s presidential elections.

The world’s largest maker of jet engines plans this year to open three new U.S. aviation plants, in Ellisville, Mississippi; Auburn, Alabama, and Dayton, Ohio. After cutting headcount significantly during the recession — as did its major peers including United Technologies Corp and Caterpillar Inc — GE has added about 9,000 U.S. workers since 2009, and has already announced plans to hire another 4,500 people.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company, whose operations range from making loans to mid-sized businesses to manufacturing railroad locomotives, plans to discuss these moves at the Washington meeting. Boeing Co CEO James McNerney and Dow Chemical Co CEO Andrew Liveris are also scheduled to speak.

(Reporting By Scott Malone; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

‘Made in China’ Is Starting to Get Too Expensive


By Brian Stoffel for the The Motley Fool  

American workers are far, far more productive than their Chinese counterparts.

Seem like an overly bold statement to make? Consider a recent study published by the Boston Consulting Group entitled Made in America, Again. The study makes just that assertion. And what happens when you combine lower productivity with the rising wages that Chinese laborers now demand? We might be looking at the perfect recipe for the rebirth of American manufacturing. Read more of this post

Made in USA: 30 Day Journey

"We're willing to DIE for our country, but are we willing to BUY for it?"

"We're willing to DIE for our country, but are we willing to BUY for it?"

Josh Miller of ‘Made in USA: 30 Day Journey‘ is asking us one simple question.

“We’re willing to DIE for our country, but are we willing to BUY for it?”

Josh and his film crew will set out on a journey in which he will live off USA made products for 30 days. During his travels, he will speak and interview business-owners, homeowners, politicians, economists and American consumers to find out, among other things, what ‘Made in America’ means to them.  We will help Josh and his crew verify the made in USA claim with the help and support of Made in USA Certified.

Their goal is to raise $5,000 for the film during this campaign.  A $10 donation will get your name in the rolling credits of the film under “Minutemen”.  How cool will that be!

We believe Josh and his crew are a part of the Made In America Movement.  This film will help gain more exposure for this Movement.  This is why we are asking for your support.

Diane Sawyer & David Muir of World News with Diane Sawyer made everyone across the nation aware of this Movement last year with their ‘Made in America’ segments on ABC News, asking you all if you are “IN”.  Now we are asking you, are you in?

Let’s help Josh Miller on his journey.  Go to the link below. Donate your $10 (or more!) and let them know you are a proud supporter of the Made in America Movement.  Your support and donations really do matter!

Made in USA: 30 day Journey donation page I’M IN!

In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad

An explosion last May at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China, killed four people and injured 18. It built iPads.

An explosion last May at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China, killed four people and injured 18. It built iPads. (Color China Photo, via Associated Press)

By NYT   and   Published: January 25, 2012

The explosion ripped through Building A5 on a Friday evening last May, an eruption of fire and noise that twisted metal pipes as if they were discarded straws.

When workers in the cafeteria ran outside, they saw black smoke pouring from shattered windows. It came from the area where employees polished thousands of iPad cases a day.

Two people were killed immediately, and over a dozen others hurt. As the injured were rushed into ambulances, one in particular stood out. His features had been smeared by the blast, scrubbed by heat and violence until a mat of red and black had replaced his mouth and nose.

“Are you Lai Xiaodong’s father?” a caller asked when the phone rang at Mr. Lai’s childhood home. Six months earlier, the 22-year-old had moved to Chengdu, in southwest China, to become one of the millions of human cogs powering the largest, fastest and most sophisticated manufacturing system on earth. That system has made it possible for Apple and hundreds of other companies to build devices almost as quickly as they can be dreamed up.

“He’s in trouble,” the caller told Mr. Lai’s father. “Get to the hospital as soon as possible.” Read more of this post

In The Era of Big Boxes, a Day For The Little Guy

Rob Schwind shovels the sidewalk in front of the Chagrin Hardware in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Rob Schwind shovels the sidewalk in front of the Chagrin Hardware in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Associated Press  By AMY SANCETTA  – Wed, Jan 25, 2012 7:33 AM EST

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio (AP) — It began quietly, as an email to 40 friends.

But when a steady stream of customers began coming through the door before the family-owned Chagrin Hardware had even opened for the day on Saturday, it was clear that it had turned into much more than that.

The idea started with Jim Black, a resident of Chagrin Falls, a close-knit village in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs that is part artist colony and part bedroom community. Black posted the email to a group of his friends. “Let’s show our support for one of our local businesses,” he wrote. “I challenge everyone to spend AT LEAST $20 at the hardware on the 21st.”

Although his email referred to the idea of a “Cash Mob” or the notion to “Occupy CF Hardware,” he really had no political agenda. And it wasn’t meant as a protest against the big-box stores that have created an ever-tightening circle around the community.

It was just a way to thank Chagrin Hardware’s owners for a beloved shop that has been a fixture in the village since 1857.

“These are good people who needed our support,” Black said. “It’s just that simple.”

The store, overlooking meandering Riverside Park and the Chagrin River in the middle of town, has been run by the Shutts family for the last 72 years. It passed from uncle to father to older brothers Rob and Kenny and the three youngest, Steve, Susie and Jack, who run the store today.

Black’s note was forwarded and forwarded and forwarded again. Calls started coming in from folks out of state who wanted to make a purchase over the phone.

And when the day came, so did the shoppers — one by one, with dogs on leashes and children in tow, hour after hour until the hardware was teeming with customers.

“This is small-town America,” said resident Martine Scheuermann, a bag of pet-safe ice melt in her arms and her Springer Spaniels tapping their toes on the worn wooden floor at her feet. “This is a special family business in a town where everybody knows you.”

The store has seen its share of tough times. Road construction on Main Street at the store’s front door some years back crippled business for a time. More recently, the weakened economy and the big boxes have stolen away customers.

On this day, though, those storylines were forgotten.

By 10 a.m. the place was jammed. By 1:30 p.m., the credit card machine was overloaded and had to be reset. “This is so cool,” said Steve Shutts, a mix of joy, wonder and happy exhaustion spread across his face. “I’ve seen people today I haven’t seen in years.”

The line at the checkout stretched in two directions as people with snow shovels and light bulbs and fireplace grates and vintage movie posters and horse shoe caulk — yes, horse shoe caulk — waited to pay.

Chad Schron, 38, came with his 8-year-old son Robert. “We didn’t have anything we had to get, but we found things we had to get,” he said. As he spoke, Robert clutched an Ohio State desk lamp and two flying monkey toys to his chest.

“When I was a kid, my Mom would send me down here with a note to let me buy BB’s,” Schron recalled. “Lots of kids did that back then. The notes still are in a drawer over there,” he said as he pointed past the register to a wall of wooden drawers containing everything from old springs to screws. In the drawer still labeled “BBs” were stacks of crumpled notes dating to the ’50s, from mothers just like Schron’s

When the final customer had finally left well after closing time with her fuzzy dice and floodlights, Schwind and Steve Shutts tallied the day’s receipts. Shutts shook his head at the wild and unexpected ride.

He wouldn’t say how much the store made that day, but was clearly pleased with the outcome.

“Thanks to Jimmy Black,” he said. “Thanks to everyone. Thanks to Chagrin Falls.

“What a place to live.”

Ford Salaried Workers to Get Raises & Bonuses

Associated Press – Thu, Jan 19, 2012

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is showing confidence in its turnaround and the U.S. economy by giving pay raises and bonuses to 20,000 white-collar workers mainly in the U.S. and Canada.

Workers got letters from President of the Americas Mark Fields last week saying they’ll get 2.7 percent base pay increases on April 1. They’ll also get bonuses this year based on their individual performances, spokeswoman Marcey Evans said.

Ford made $6.6 billion in the first three quarters of last year. It will report fourth-quarter earnings later this month. The company’s U.S. sales rose 11 percent last year. It has made a huge turnaround since 2006, when it lost $12.6 billion and had to borrow more than $20 billion to stay in business.

Salaried workers didn’t get pay raises last year, but many were granted performance bonuses. They got only merit pay in 2010 and no raises or bonuses were given in 2009, Evans said.

The raises are necessary to keep Ford’s pay competitive with other Fortune 100 companies, Evans said. Each year, Ford studies pay at competitors and other companies, she said.

Ford also raised its matching contribution to the salaried employees’ 401(k) retirement plan. The company now pays 60 cents for every dollar an employee contributes, up to 5 percent of their salary. This year the contribution will rise to 80 cents, Evans said.

She would not say how much the raises, bonuses and additional contributions will cost the company.

The raises rankled some United Auto Workers members because they did not get annual pay raises in a new four-year contract negotiated with the company last year. During the contract talks, the company told union negotiators that it didn’t want to give raises to avoid recurring annual expenses.

But the workers got signing bonuses and lump-sum profit sharing payments that are worth at least $16,700 over the four-year contract. Workers at General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC agreed to similar contracts with payments smaller than those given to Ford workers.

“I’m disappointed to hear that,” Mark Caruso, president of a UAW local at a factory in Saline, Mich., said of the white-collar raises. Caruso said morale already is bad among workers at his plant west of Detroit. A Ford holding company is trying to sell the factory to an auto parts supplier.

A UAW spokeswoman in Detroit said Thursday that she would check with her superiors to see if the union will comment on the white-collar raises.

The pay raise announcement was reported early Thursday by the Detroit Free Press.

Ford compensation records obtained by The Associated Press last year show that UAW-represented hourly workers have seen larger increases in pay and benefits over the last decade than many white-collar workers.

The UAW, according to the records, was able to protect longtime factory workers from changes to health care, overtime and other benefit cuts that salaried workers were forced to take. The average hourly worker at Ford received wages, benefits and overtime totaling $109,020 in 2010, up 17 percent from 1999. But the average salaried factory supervisor made $99,760 in wages and benefits, up just 2 percent in the same period, the records showed.

State Of The Union Speech Text 2012

Below, Obama’s prepared remarks as released by the White House.

As Prepared for Delivery –Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home. Read more of this post

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