On Friday February 13th, there was a line of 27 container ships anchored at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach wanting to be offloaded. By Saturday, Valentine’s Day, that number had grown to 32. This bottleneck is primarily the result of a nine-month labor contract dispute between the union representing the longshoremen and the ship owners. The ship owners are accusing the union of work slowdowns. To retaliate, the PMA (a trade group representing the ship owners) has canceled night and weekend shifts to avoid paying overtime to the workers. It is estimated that the economic cost of one day of a lockout could cost $1 billion dollars. If the dispute is allowed to escalate, shutting down all 29 west coast ports, the economic consequences could be substantial. These ports handle approximately $1 trillion worth of cargo each year. Los Angeles and Long Beach are the largest, handling 40% of all incoming cargo containers.
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Typically I don't make New Year's resolutions. Maybe that s because I never seem to be able to keep them, but now I know I'm not alone in this. According to a study at the University of Scranton, only a tiny fraction of us actually keep our resolutions. Their research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. I guess I'm considered in the majority here.
What if for once we came up with a resolution that was easy to keep and benefited our country at the same time? Sounds great, right? As a consumer, think about all of the purchases you make every year. All that "stuff" that we, as Americans love to buy. A lot of that "stuff" is sadly not made in this country, however the U.S manufacturing revival is happening and every week, American entrepreneurs are coming up with new ideas of things to make here. The problem is most people have no clue how to look for it or where to buy it. We can help with that.
According to the website Made in the USA.com, “If every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made products, it would create almost 10,000 new jobs. And, if every builder used just 5 percent more U.S.-made products, it would create 220,000 jobs.” It is clear, that each one of us can have a positive impact on our economy by simply making the decision to buy products made at home.
In the 1900s, the United States was booming. Companies set up shop on American soil and hired well-educated, motivated American workers to manufacture and sell their products. More recently, free trade and an ever-globalizing economy have encouraged American businesses to move their manufacturing facilities overseas, where they can employ less expensive labor with fewer regulations and ultimately sell their products to the end consumer at a lower price. At first glance, lower prices appear to be a good thing, a way of getting more products into the hands of more people more rapidly. However, a closer look reveals there are still many benefits of manufacturing in the U.S. vs. overseas.
We live in a world where attention spans grow shorter every day; where Wall Street seems focused on fast profits not long-term strategies and companies are pressured to produce products at the very lowest cost.
Hiring veterans is the focus of the Get Skills to Work coalition, a collaboration sponsored by General Electric that combines manufacturers, educational institutions, and veterans advocates to prepare our soldiers for manufacturing careers.
According to the website "The Get Skills to Work coalition wouldn't be possible without the support and partnership from Alcoa, the Atlantic Council, Boeing, Futures Inc, the Gary Sinise Foundation, GE, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, the Manufacturing Institute, TechShop, and others. The Get Skills to Work Advisory Council has also played a major role in advising the coalition from the veterans' perspective. By helping veterans qualify and get hired for new careers, we can close the skills gap and enhance America's advanced manufacturing sector."
In this video, Gary Sinise describes the mission of the program.
“Be adept and adapt” has become the new mantra for many manufacturing communities. This approach is alive and well in Montgomery County Pennsylvania where a group of manufacturers and local officials recently gathered to discuss how public and private resources can help support this vital industry sector.
This meeting underscores the recognition, throughout the nation, that American manufacturing matters. Here are some of the top-line pointers that every manufacturing company can use.
- Take advantage of your local educational institutions
We are not the only ones who are proud to participate in Manufacturing Day. Since its inception in 2012, the number of participating manufacturers has grown from 200 to nearly 1,500. American manufacturers throughout the country are going to open their doors this year for tours, presentations, training and more. In fact, there are 68 tours in Pennsylvania alone.
Manufacturing Day is less than two weeks away. If you can’t attend a Manufacturing Day tour in person, what better way to celebrate the greatness of this industry than through the power of pictures. We have provided links to some of our favorite American manufacturing videos from 2013 and 2014.
So, pop some popcorn, put up your feet and enjoy the show.