On the road again: 2013 edition
Every year, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) travels across the country, meeting with voters, businesses, unions, and policymakers to discuss American manufacturing. 2013 was no different: We went from Buffalo, New York to Fresno, California, with several stops along the way. Here are some highlights:
Buffalo in April: In Buffalo's famous Asbury Hall, AAM joined the United Steelworkers, local businesses, and western New York politicos to discuss how best to boost manufacturing in the Buffalo area. First step, cooperation:
"Hopefully after tonight, we have a working group come out of here to talk about how we tie in the educational community to the manufacturing, to the unions," John Shinn, United Steel Workers District 4 President, said.
San Jose in June: AAM brought some American-made fun to the Netroots Nation convention. If you saw us at Netroots, you might have gotten in on some pinball action, or helped us close out the week when hosted an All American-made Night at the San Jose Giants minor league baseball stadium.
Fresno in June: Our Town Hall meeting in Fresno pressed the case for American-made high-speed rail in California’s Central Valley. Buy America requirements are intended to create a preference for U.S.-made steel and other manufactured goods on projects for which federal stimulus dollars are spent. As Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul explained, it's important to hold goverment officials accountable:
'There are loopholes,' he said, pointing to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, in which steel from China was used for a portion of the project where federal money was not used. A lot depends on how dedicated the contractors are to working with American suppliers, he said.
'The contractors who bid on projects, if they want to increase their margins, they want to source it from the absolute cheapest place,' Paul said. Using domestic materials, however, carries other economic benefits beyond the price tag, he added.
Cleveland in July: ReMaking America authors discussed the state of U.S. manufacturing at the City Club in Cleveland, Ohio. ReMaking America author Irene Petrick made a bold statement at the event: Manufacturing is sexy again!
Alabama in August: We brought our Keep it Made in America message to three spots in Alabama. The AAM crew stopped in Mobile, Birmingham, and Decatur to discuss American manufacturing. Catch the highlights.
In Birmingham, U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (AL-7) joined us:
It burns her up, she said, when she sees the prices of catfish from Hale County (Alabama) farmers undercut by catfish from Vietnam.
Other countries don't have workplace laws like the U.S. They can rely on child labor and paltry wages to keep costs low, she said.
'It may cost a little more for me to pass over that Vietnamese whatever-it-is to get the catfish fresh from Hale County,' she said. 'But I will gladly pay that extra 50 cents.'
Atlanta in August: AAM traveled to Georgia to attend the National Conference of State Legislators. There we educated state electeds on the importance of American manufacturing; specifically how Buy America laws can support American companies and jobs.
New York City in October: AAM's Scott Paul visited NYC to talk ‘shop’ with two economic experts: Jared Bernstein, of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Leo Hindery, Jr., of the New America Foundation.
Chicago in November: AAM attended FABTECH Expo in the Windy City. AAM field coordinators Meghan McKeefry and Mike Mitchell talked to manufacturing students and professors at the weeklong conference.
And our ReMaking America authors stopped by to discuss the future of American manufacturing, too.
NEXT YEAR: We're heading to Rhode Island, Missouri, Texas, Wisconsin, and more.
We may be coming to a city or town near you soon! Stay tuned.
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