Posted by elizabethbb
• 07/28/2014

Happy Monday — and welcome to the Early Shift.

The big question as we start the week: Will Congress finally act to keep the Highway Trust Fund going?

Things actually look pretty promising, as the Senate is preparing to move on an $11 billion temporary fix to keep the trust fund solvent through May 2015. The House already passed its version of the bill, and the Senate is expected to finally schedule a vote sometime this week for a very D.C. reason: Senators want to go home. As Roll Call put it:

The Senate is up against its August recess, so if all goes as planned, the federal money will keep flowing to state transportation departments. That means the earth movers and concrete mixers will keep working during this highway construction season.

The bill only provides a 10-month extension to the Trust Fund, and a long-term plan to rebuild our nation’s transportation infrastructure is still badly needed. But this temporary fix will keep hundreds of thousands of Americans working on transportation projects across the country, so we’ll take what we can get… for now.

It's also a busy week for news about the economy, with a slew of measuring reports slated to be unveiled, including the monthly jobs report on Friday. Business Insider predicts “an outsized gain in manufacturing payrolls” in this report due to strength in motor vehicle production. Of course, with President Obama still 844,000 jobs away from reaching his goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs in his second term, we need several months of “outsized gains.”

Meanwhile, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge debacle continues in California, where a state Senator is now calling for a criminal investigation. Sen. Mark DeSaulnier says a soon-to-be-released Senate investigation will show that the California Department of Transportation “knowingly accepted substandard work at taxpayer expense” when it hired a firm from China to complete key steel sections on the suspension span of the bridge.

And in case you missed it, Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul wrote about how his recent trip to Detroit for Netroots Nation reminded him of why we are fighting so hard to restore American manufacturing leadership. As he wrote:

With the right policies manufacturing can see a new dawn not only over Detroit, but all across America. We can see renewed wealth and growth opportunities necessary to keep the American dream alive. And we'll have far fewer of those conversations about which block to raze and which block to save.

A little inspiration to start the week off right.


Photo by Ryan Vaarsi via Flickr Creative Commons.

Posted by mmcmullan
• 07/25/2014

Good afternoon,

And welcome to the Early Shift. We’re back at it after Netroots Nation 2014. Back on the grind. What’s been happening out there this week?

We’ve been watching the political advertisements about trade begin to roll out. Some are a little light on the details, and others don’t tell the whole story. Read our analysis here of the latest spot from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (stay tuned for plenty more fact checks as the midterms approach).

We’ve been watching manufacturing employment flatline. Timothy Aeppel at the Wall Street Journal spoke to an economist at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation:

Mr. Meckstroth thinks the overall number will soon start to drift up again. “But we’re not going to have a renaissance,” he adds, “in the sense of getting manufacturing back up to the share of the economy it was in the mid-1990s,” unless there’s progress made on reducing the trade deficit in goods. “You just can’t continue to run higher and higher deficits and think the industry is going to be in any kind of a renaissance,” he says.

We’re watching Vice President Joe Biden lay out the case for massive infrastructure investment.

And we’re watching this interview. MSNBC’s Krystal Ball speaks to Beth Macy, author of “Factory Man,” a story of the rise and fall of Virginia and North Carolina’s furniture manufacturing industry.

And that’s it. That’s it and that’s all, America! We’ll catch you next week.


Posted by elizabethbb
• 07/21/2014

Happy Monday morning, and welcome to the Early Shift.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) crew is back home after last week's successful trip to Netroots Nation in Detroit. During our stay in the Motor City, Team AAM spread the word about ways that policymakers and others can support U.S. manufacturing, including investment in our nation’s infrastructure and support for Buy America policies. Among the highlights of our trip:

  • We hosted a great panel discussion on Saturday morning that looked at how manufacturing supports the nation's middle class. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), Daily Kos Labor Editor Laura Clawson, United Steelworkers Local 4131 President Durwin Royal, and AAM President Scott Paul joined moderator Joe Sudbay for a talk that touched on everything from unfair trade policies and workers’ rights to the importance of holding our politicians accountable. There even was a celebrity appearance, as MSNBC's Krystal Ball stopped by.
  • Scott Paul also addressed the full Netroots crowd during the conference’s closing plenary, where he discussed the importance of manufacturing jobs and the success of the recent Save Our Steel Jobs effort.
  • AAM hosted the official Netroots Nation closing night party at the Michigan Science Center, where partygoers danced the night away and checked out the planetarium. We’re hoping they learned a few things about manufacturing, too.  The science center is home to “Roads, Tunnels and Bridges,” which features hands-on, interactive exhibits on transportation, fuels, and infrastructure. 


Looking Ahead

Now that Netroots is over, we've got our eyes set on Capitol Hill, where the effort to fund the Highway Trust Fund rolls on. The House last week passed a bill to keep state transportation projects funded through May 2015, but as Roll Call noted, the bill faces delays in the Senate as the parties bicker over how many amendments to debate.

Meanwhile, a new poll from Politico finds that the economy is the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds heading into the 2014 midterm elections. That’s no surprise to us — an AAM poll conducted earlier this year showed that voters in both parties consider jobs, particularly in manufacturing, as a top issue. Voters also see U.S. policies and policymakers as an obstacle to manufacturing job creation.

Both polls provide further proof lawmakers should focus on finding a lasting solution to the Highway Trust Fund issue rather than a temporary fix. Significant investments to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure — which would include Buy America requirements — will lead to job creation nationwide while boosting the economy.

And while our lawmakers debate, American workers are ready to go to work. As the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend, more Americans are pursuing skills training for technical jobs. Now it's up to Washington to ensure the jobs will be there for them. 

Posted by mmcmullan
• 07/14/2014

Good morning,

and welcome to the Early Shift.

The verdict is in: The U.S. Department of Commerce has found that there’s been significant “dumping” of steel pipe and tube by companies based in South Korea and elsewhere. This is a big reversal from Commerce’s preliminary decision on the subject of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) products, which had let chief offender South Korea get off scot free.

This story got picked up by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and Reuters, among others. It’s a big one; had Commerce decided otherwise, thousands of jobs up and down the steel supply chain in America would have been left at serious risk. That’s why, leading up to last week’s verdict, thousands of workers turned out at rallies around the country to tell Washington just how important its decision was.

But those workers aren’t out of the woods yet. Tomorrow comes the next critical step in this process, when this case goes before the International Trade Commission that will decide whether the case’s petitioners have been financially injured or are threatened by injury by this dumping. Stick with the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) tomorrow; we’ll be following the news closely.  

Extra, extra: It’s Netroots Nation week. AAM is traveling to Detroit for the annual political blogger conference. What will be talking about? Manufacturing, natch. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for updates from the convention floor.


Posted by mmcmullan
• 07/07/2014

Good morning,

and welcome to the Early Shift. We hope you enjoyed the fireworks on the Fourth and got some rest over the weekend, because there's a big decision expected this week: The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to announce its final decision in a trade case that could affect thousands of steel jobs across the United States.

Will American steelworkers be forced to compete with a flood of imports, dumped into the U.S. at prices way below fair market value? Or will our government enforce its on-the-books trade laws?

Find out what’s at stake for those steelworkers. And then take action to help them out.

But it's not all trade cases in the Early Shift: We've got our ears to the ground for cool cultural phenonema. To wit: Check out the good use someone got out of a drone on Independence Day.

Have a good week, America!


Posted by mmcmullan
• 06/30/2014

Good afternoon,

and welcome to the Early Shift. Before we get going, here's a little something to chew on: The first Chevrolet Corvette was manufactured today in 1953.

Now let's get down to brass tacks. The Save Our Steel Jobs rallies have ended, but we’re still plenty focused on the trade case that could affect the livelihoods of thousands of steelworkers across the nation. And we’re not alone. Today we’ve got two opinions on the matter. One from Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers (and fresh from testifying on Capitol Hill); and the other from Tom Ridge, Homeland Security secretary during the George W. Bush administration.

Here’s Ridge:

Steel dumping by any foreign trade partner is not only unfair; it stunts new investment and destabilizes the domestic steel industry. Should the Commerce Department side with South Korean steel makers in its final determination due by July 10, the United States will lose many of the jobs that the expansion of the natural gas industry has helped to sustain and create.

Tell Washington to not let that happen. Tell your legislators to stand up for steel jobs!

Elsewhere: Far across the Pacific Ocean, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks march on.

And next month, we join the Netroots Nation. Our panel at the blogger convention — this year in Detroit — will talk about manufacturing’s historic role in America’s middle class. Click here to learn more.

That's it, and that's all, America. Keep an eye out for an updated #AAMeter this Thursday!


Photo by Flickr user Collector Car Ads, used following creative commons guidelines.

Posted by mmcmullan
• 06/23/2014


Good morning,

And welcome to the Early Shift. We’ve got what you need to get your work week started right: A chance to help workers in Minnesota fight for their jobs.

At 11 am ET, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) and steelworkers in Minnesota are joining the state's iron miners as they rally against the unfair dumping of imported steel pipe that’s threatening their livelihoods. It's the last rally in the #SOSJobs campaign, and it's gonna be a good one.

Want to know what this trade case is all about? Read up on the issue here. Want to see what’s happening on the ground on the Iron Range this morning? Check back in with AAM's blog for updates, or better yet, watch the event online at 11 am ET. Want to participate in the online discussion? Holler at us on Twitter and use the #SOSJobs hashtag.

That's plenty enough for one morning; it's gonna be a busy one for AAM! We'll see you on the Iron Range!


Posted by mmcmullan
• 06/20/2014

Good afternoon,

and welcome to the Early Shift. Let’s split this Friday’s update into a full meal.

THE MAIN COURSE: Today, by technicality, is the last day of spring 2014! It’s been a busy one for the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) — we’ve been to Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Alabama. But there’s no time to rest; by Saturday, summer will be here, and by Monday, AAM will be on the Iron Range in Minnesota, the site of our last #SOSJobs rally.

What’s at stake for the workers in Virginia, Minnesota? Plenty. They’re the first stop on steel supply chain, and their jobs could be at risk if the U.S. Department of Commerce fails to uphold America’s trade laws as it considers the case of illegally dumped steel pipe and tube from South Korea. Click here to learn more, and keep an eye on AAM’s many arms of social media when we’re rallying on Monday.

SIDE DISH: Rallies aren’t all that AAM is up to this summer. Next month, we’re heading to Detroit — home of the Red Wings, Motown, and Tommy Hearns — for Netroots Nation 2014. The annual political blogger conference kicks off on July 17, and we’ll be there in the exhibition hall to spread the word about America’s manufacturing sector. We’ve got a panel discussion on manufacturing and the middle class planned, too.  

Last year at Netroots, we were all about American-made arcade games. Stay tuned for details on what we’ve got planned for our booth this time around.

AND FOR DESSERT: Have you ever noticed how politicians only drive American-made cars? Matt Miller at Bloomberg News did. Check out the video below (or click here if you can’t see it!).

That’s it and that’s all, America. A full Early Shift meal. Have a good weekend, and we’ll catch you from Minnesota on Monday!


Posted by mmcmullan
• 06/16/2014

Good morning,

and welcome to the Early Shift. The Alliance for American Manufacturing has a busy day planned; at 4 pm ET, we’re rallying with steelworkers in Alabama whose jobs are being threatened by a surge of dumped steel pipe and tube from South Korea.

Are you in the Birmingham area? Well then: Gas up the car and come out and join us. But if you aren’t, then there are still plenty of ways you can participate. First, visit our website and get the facts on the details of this trade dispute. Then, join the conversation on Twitter with the #SOSJobs hashtag. And when 4 pm ET rolls around, watch the livestream of today’s rally. We’ll also be tweeting and live-blogging commentary too.

But what else is happening out there?

The Associated Press has a pretty clear-eyed take on what the loss of manufacturing jobs has meant to places like Reading, Pennsylvania:

Globalization, automation and recession destroyed nearly 6 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2009. In Pennsylvania, between 2001 and 2011, 258,000 middle-income factory jobs were lost. At the same time, Pennsylvania added jobs at the lower end of the wage spectrum — in health care and social services — and at the highest end, in sectors like management and finance.

And from the Business of Fashion comes a similarly clear-eyed opinion on domestic apparel manufacturing:

Why would America want to “re-shore” an industry that is having a hard time paying its workers $100 a month in the Third World? Should we not be training and developing the future American workforce for higher skilled manufacturing where the better education and training many workers receive in the US could offer us a competitive advantage?

As a matter of fact, AAM has got an answer to that question. We call it the blueprint for the future.

And that’s it. That’s it and that’s all. We’ll see you at 4 pm ET, live from Alabama!


Posted by mmcmullan
• 06/13/2014

Good afternoon,

and welcome to the Early Shift. Lots of stuff happening out there in manufacturing. We’re gearing up for a Monday rally with steelworkers in Alabama whose jobs are being threatened by dumped imports from South Korea. You can learn all about their trade case and what’s at stake by visiting our microsite here.

But Alabama isn’t the only place where the alarm is being raised. U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard were on Capitol Hill yesterday to make the case for America’s steel industry. Writes Brian Wingfield for Bloomberg:

The two men have joined forces in recent months to lobby the Obama administration to impose duties on imports of Korean steel products, which they say are clobbering the U.S. industry.

Today they were on Capitol Hill to meet with Democrats and reporters to get out their message.

'We are not asking for any favors,' Longhi said. 'We just want the law to be respected, applied in full. This is not a time for compromise.'

Elsewhere: U.S. Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are keeping the pressure on the Obama administration to get serious about China’s ongoing habit of manipulating its currency.

An interesting appraisal on American work culture ... from a mechanical engineer at BMW’s Spartansburg, South Carolina plant. Check it out here.

And lastly: We’ll be rallying in Alabama on Monday! Make sure to stick with @KeepitmadeinUSA for live rally updates.


@KeepitMadeinUSA on Twitter

  • ICYMI: Senate passed its version of Highway Trust Fund bill; shortened length of extension to Dec. instead of May 2015. Heads back to House. 11 hours 7 min ago
  • The Senate is now debating legislation to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund (well, until May 2015). Watch on @cspan: 14 hours 59 min ago
  • RT @SteveRattner: Amazing shift in US jobs -- gone from making things to taking care of sick people 15 hours 56 min ago
  • We must be close to election season. Candidates are talking a big game about unfair trade on the campaign trail: 18 hours 20 min ago
  • Looks like @amazon is getting into the 3D printing business. 19 hours 43 min ago
  • RT @WisconsinOven: MT @KeepitMadeinUSA @ScottPaulAAM shares ideas in @HuffingtonPost on how to restore American manufacturing leadership:ht… 20 hours 28 min ago
  • BTW, ALL the machines at that Indianapolis Adidas plant helped produce LeBron jerseys. Plus more in Iowa & Cleveland. 20 hours 28 min ago
  • !!! RT @darrenrovell The LeBron jersey assembly line at Adidas facility in Indianapolis 20 hours 30 min ago
  • Wisconsin companies are going on a national tour to promote American manufacturing: 21 hours 19 min ago
  • This --> @USAToday examines the myth of the STEM workers shortage. 1 day 16 hours ago