By Scott Paul
Visionary leaders have created the Alliance for American Manufacturing to give a voice to workers and companies who have decided that, in the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
AAM believes that workers and management coming together will make a difference in the fight to secure America’s economic future. And the stakes are very high. Over the last seven years, more than 3 million American manufacturing jobs have disappeared, and more than 40,000 manufacturing facilities have closed. Our trade deficit is skyrocketing, and American companies and workers are being squeezed by higher costs for health care, energy and retirement plans.
Meanwhile, some economists and policymakers think it is actually healthy for the manufacturing sector to fade away. They tell us to focus on the information age and to cheer the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to countries like China. We strongly disagree. We are determined to show that America’s future depends on a vital manufacturing sector and a growing information economy. We will provide compelling evidence that harmful policies—and not merely natural forces—are contributing to this loss of jobs and shrinking of our manufacturing base.
We also believe that Americans should be reintroduced to the workers and companies that make our nation so great. For decades, the manufacturing sector has provided top-notch products for American consumers and a secure future for our economy and national defense. For generations of Americans, a career at the local manufacturing plant meant an opportunity to achieve the American dream: owning a home, sending the children to college, having a secure retirement.
But with more of our children’s toys and clothing, our families’ cars and dishwashers, and—yes—even our nation’s bullets and bombs being assembled overseas, too many stereotypes about American manufacturing have crept into the minds of journalists, elected officials and even average citizens who aren’t familiar with our industry. We are determined to set the record straight: American manufacturing is high-tech and competitive, American workers are highly skilled and highly productive, and we are always striving to do better.
AAM will be conducting innovative research, using creative ways of communicating with the public and with policymakers, building strong coalitions and advocating for cooperative solutions to the challenges that face manufacturing today. We will tackle issues like our nation’s dysfunctional trade policy, the challenges that China presents to our nation, and the need for new thinking on energy, health care and retirement security.
We ask you to join us in this effort. Sign up for our e-ail list. Debate on our blog. Join us at town hall meetings that we’ll be scheduling across the nation. Let your elected officials know how important manufacturing is to you.
Together, we can make sure American manufacturing always will be No. 1.
Paul is the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.