Make it in America

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Make it in America Agenda
May 04, 2011

We commend Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer for refocusing attention on job creation by once again introducing the bipartisan "Make it in America" agenda.  It's time for Congress to focus on what Americans want and need most—jobs.  We need to create them, retain them and make sure that they are safe and family-supporting jobs. 

Rebuilding America's manufacturing base is central to rebuilding our nation's economy.  The Make it in America agenda would finally create a national manufacturing strategy our country desperately needs. The National Manufacturing Strategy Act passed by the House last year provides a good starting point.  The United States has seen far too many good jobs go overseas. And it's not just the front line manufacturing jobs that have vanished – it's design, R&D and engineering jobs as well. 

The loss of our innovative, technical and industrial capacity not only undermines opportunities in America, it also threatens our national security.  Other nations are taking over production of our national defense technology while countries like China have access to and have made moves to limit the United States' access to the raw materials needed to guide a missile, drive an Abrams tank or build a hybrid or electric car.

This agenda would also address the long-term issue of the Chinese government's currency manipulation.  The manipulation has had a devastating impact on our economy—but the onus is on us to fix it.   Last year, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act. Now is the time to finish the job.  And as the Make it in America agenda unfolds, it must include strong Buy America provisions. 

This nation can no longer live on legacy. We need to invest trillions in the coming decades to build a 21st century infrastructure and we must ensure that we actually make the technology and materials for the things we are building and installing.  The Make it in America agenda is a big step in the right direction to resolve our manufacturing crisis.  We stand ready to work with Congress to invest in our future, to create good jobs and to make it in America.

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  • Privatization and outsourcing of military production and related services isn't a good thing. I know we're critical of military spending and U.S. global militarism, but the fact is when this stuff is done elsewhere there is a double whammy at work: super-exploitation of workers over there and then the president will order someone over here to go over there and blow them up with the stuff they made made when they complain about it -- to be crass. Yes a big cut in military
    spending is needed; yes, priorities have to shift. But if there is a political reality that demands this stuff be made and done here where it can be watched and unionized etc., that is a good thing.

    Posted by Joel Wendland, 05/07/2011 10:30am (8 years ago)

  • The bosses' antagonism to China is like their antagonism to unions: a class antagonism, reflecting the exploiters' fear and hate of workers' organization.

    Unfortunately this antagonism finds its way into labor's ranks. We in the CPUSA have a deep responsibility to explain this, that China since 1949 is like a 'union risen to state power' atop a great mass upsurge that broke the bosses' power. Just as GM and Chrysler's problems were blamed on the "greedy" unions in auto, with their "Cadillac" health plans, the problems of capitalism are blamed on China and its "currency manipulation".

    Should unions really be calling to cut wages? Of course not. But that is what the US government's call in effect amounts to when it calls on China to revalue its currency against the dollar, although it is not placed that way. Rebuilding the US's arms capacity amounts in effect to rebuilding the bosses' capacity to wage war against the workers of the world -- both at home and abroad. Again we have a deep responsibility to explain this, and to rebuild unity of the workers of the world, both unity among unions and unity among the Communist and workers' parties worldwide.

    Posted by W A Halabi, 05/06/2011 11:06am (8 years ago)

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