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Manufacturers: Let’s Get to Work on Keystone

By | General | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Ross Eisenberg released the following statement on the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline:

“We appreciate the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s open and transparent process to ensure the full range of relevant factors were again considered. Strengthening and modernizing our nation’s energy infrastructure is simply the right thing to do—for working families, energy security, job creation and U.S. manufacturing’s future.
 
“Any decision to advance specific projects that will benefit manufacturers—and all Americans—should be driven by facts, not political motivations. That’s why manufacturers, through the NAM, joined this case and advocated strongly for today’s outcome.
 
“Now, let’s get to work to build this thing.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

NAM Leads Industry Effort Calling on Congress to Fix Immigration System and Protect DACA Recipients

By | General, Immigration, immigration reform, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The administration announced in early September that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be rescinded and called on Congress to act in order to address the issue. The NAM agreed then that Congress needed to fix our broken immigration system and must work to find a solution for the more than 750,000 immigrants protected under DACA.

Today, the NAM continued our leadership efforts by spearheading a joint-letter to Capitol Hill urging Congress to assure DACA recipients that their future is safe in this country. The signatories of the letter included more than 30 organizations from a diverse cross-section of the manufacturing industry from around the country.

Since the announcement in September DACA recipients, also known as DREAMers, have been living with a magnitude of uncertainty. These individuals were brought to the United States as minors through no fault of their own and some currently are contributing to the success of the manufacturing sector. In many cases, they know no other country other than this one.

The last major immigration reform effort to come out of Washington happened in 1986. Despite the many calls for action since then to update our system, lawmakers have not delivered. NAM CEO Jay Timmons has called on Congress to “step up” and provide a solution for these DREAMers and it is clear from the joint-letter sent today the rest of the business community agrees.

Manufacturers have reason to be optimistic Congress will deliver to DACA recipients with many solutions already being discussed on Capitol Hill. The NAM will continue to work with lawmakers to find a solution that fixes the immigration system for these young people, manufacturers, and our economy.

The letter to Congress is below and can be found here:

November 13, 2017

U.S. Senate                                                                                          U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510                                                                      Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senators and Representatives:

The immigration system is broken. For too long the business community has called on Congress and various administrations to lead an overhaul of the immigration system. While earnest efforts have been made, nothing has changed. The last major reform of the immigration system took place in 1986.

Recipients participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program should not have to live in fear of deportation. Congress needs to send a strong signal to this segment of the immigrant community that we welcome their talents, contributions of hard work, desire for education, and if serving, support their willingness to wear the uniform of the armed forces.

Manufacturers call on Congress to assure DACA recipients that their future is safe. Pass legislation well before the administration’s March deadline. We all stand by efforts that improve our immigration system and enhance border security. Moreover, these young people deserve dignity and long-term certainty, including an achievable pathway to legal status.

Sincerely,

Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute

Aluminum Association

American Wire Producers Association

AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology

Association of Pool and Spa Professionals

Association of Washington Business

Global Cold Chain Alliance

Greater North Dakota Chamber

INDA, The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry

International Fragrance Association North America

International Housewares Association

Leading Builders of America

Michigan Manufacturers Association

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Missouri Association of Manufacturers

National Association of Manufacturers

National Marine Manufacturers Association

NC Chamber

Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Nevada Manufacturers Assn

New Jersey Business & Industry Association

New Mexico Business Coalition

Ohio Manufacturers’ Association

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute

Resilient Floor Covering Institute

SNAC International

Texas Association of Business

The Toy Association

Vinyl Siding Institute

 

House Moving Forward to Restore Joint-Employer Standard

By | General, Labor Unions, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Small Business | No Comments

In 2015, the National Labor Relations Board, in the Browning-Ferris Industries case decision, overturned 30 years of case precedent by redefining a joint employer. Previously, businesses could meet the definition of an “employer” if they had “direct and immediate” control over another’s work. Now, a business owner who has “potential” or even “reserved control” over the practices of another business and its employees could be considered a “joint employer.” This change means businesses may now be liable for the contents of a collective-bargaining agreement they did not negotiate, employee overtime issues they did not cause and other employment practices.

This new definition affects more than 770,000 employers nationwide across multiple sectors and impacts every manufacturer that contracts for performed work with an outside entity. Manufacturers that contract out for any product or service with another company could find themselves mired in unexpected issues that arise from that company’s conduct.

The decision has already had a chilling effect on manufacturers’ ability and willingness to hire outside entities they would normally hire for specific expertise and services in differing fields. This hampers productivity and leads to increased overall costs. It also injects risk into the use of innovative and flexible workforce designs that manufacturers may use to cope with uneven production levels or market uncertainties.

The House will take up H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), which will restore the previous standard by amending the National Labor Relations Act to define that a person may be considered a joint employer in relation to an employee only if such person directly, actually and immediately exercises significant control over the essential terms and conditions of employment. Due to the importance of this legislation to manufacturers, the NAM will be key-voting this measure. We are hopeful the Senate will do its part next and take up this important measure so that manufacturers and others can focus on job creation and running businesses, rather than trying to navigate the complicated labor policy landscape.

Closing the Manufacturing Skills Gap

By | General, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

By Chris Muhlenkamp, Allegion Senior Vice President of Global Operations & Integrated Supply Chain

October marks Manufacturing Month, an opportunity for manufacturers across the country to highlight modern-day manufacturing, the many diverse sectors within our industry and the opportunities and challenges we’re facing. With a widening manufacturing skills gap, it’s more important than ever that we use this month’s momentum to continue pushing for recognition of our vibrant industry in 2018 and beyond.

Consider this: Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute recently reported that, over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled. However, in that same report, it’s predicted that nearly 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled because of the growing manufacturing skills gap. Linked to a lack of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills among workers and fueled by a decline of technical education programs in high schools, closing the skills gap is imperative to the success of manufacturing in the United States and millions of American workers.

As someone who has worked in the manufacturing industry for 40 years, I believe manufacturing has a bright future. Manufacturers are innovators, and we continue to see the invention of new technologies and processes that result in shorter delivery cycle times and higher-quality products for our customers. As a result, it is critical to have employees who have the desire, knowledge, expertise and capability to run, manage and maintain such investments.

Informing and inspiring the next generation of manufacturers will require a good deal of work within our communities, but it’s a worthy cause. At Allegion, we’re committed to investing in our manufacturing processes and equipment, our people and the communities in which we work to further advance the manufacturing competency.

However, to get to where we want to be, we also need government leaders at all levels to work with us, prioritizing more resources in STEM education and supporting initiatives such as trade apprenticeships and tuition reimbursement programs. Manufacturing Month only underscores the need for our nation’s leaders to continue delivering on manufacturing priorities to boost the economy and bolster our workforce. Together, we can combat the skills gap and invest in the future of the country’s workforce and the communities we serve.

Why America and American Manufacturers Need a Pro-Investment and Pro-ISDS Enforcement Strategy

By | General, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Rules relating to investment overseas and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) are back in the news. This morning, I had the opportunity to join several experts to explain some basics that seem to get lost in debate that seems to suggest that the sky will fall any day now:

1. Businesses invest at home and abroad to reach customers and participate in international projects. Most investment by U.S. companies is in fact domestic, helping companies reach customers here in the United States, the largest consumer market in the world. But 95 percent of the world’s consumers and more than 80 percent of global purchasing power is outside the United States. And that is why U.S. businesses invest not just here at home but in overseas markets to reach foreign customers. Indeed, investing close to your customers (as foreign companies do here in the United States) is often the best way to make a sale, including through activities to set up dedicated distribution networks and to tailor products to local consumer tastes.

In some areas, such as energy, natural resources or foreign infrastructure development, foreign investment is the primary way American manufacturers can participate and grow opportunities because that is where the resources and activities must take place.

The actual data collected by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis confirms this basic, but often overlooked, fact: Year after year, decade after decade, the vast majority of sales by U.S. foreign affiliatesmore than 90 percentare made to foreign customers not returned to the United States.

2. The United States, its workers and businesses benefit enormously from U.S. investment overseas. U.S. companies that invest overseas are outsized participants in the U.S. economy and are stronger because of their access to foreign markets that help grow economies of scale and boost U.S. activity and wages here at home. The facts are clear. U.S. companies that invest overseas are America’s:

  • Largest exporters, exporting 47 percent of all U.S.-manufactured goods sold overseas ($660 billion in 2014);
  • Biggest producers, accounting for $1.363 trillion or nearly 65 percent of all U.S. private-sector value-added manufacturing output in 2014;
  • Most important innovators, expending nearly $269 billion on research and development in the United States in 2014 (of that, 68 percent (or $183 billion) was expended by manufacturers in the United States);
  • Largest investors in capital expansion, expending $713.5 billion or 24 percent of all investment in new property, plants and capital equipment in the United States in 2014; and
  • Highest-paying employers, paying U.S. manufacturing workers on average $96,030, or about 18 percent more than average U.S. manufacturing wages in 2014.

3. Having strong legal protections, backed up by ISDS, helps America win in a highly competitive global economy. For more than 30 years, U.S. administrations and Congress have strongly supported a pro-investment and pro-ISDS policy because it helps America, its businesses and its workers win. The investment rules—taken right out of the U.S. Constitution and other baseline U.S. laws for the protection of private property against discriminatory, unfair, expropriatory government action—set the basic rules to combat against foreign government market-distorting activities. For example, prohibitions on government forced localization measures and incentives (e.g., government mandates to buy local products or transfer technology in exchange for allowing an investment) help ensure that U.S. investment overseas can continue to support the growth of U.S. exports and jobs. And when governments violate these basic rules, ISDS is critical so that companies have access to a neutral venue to seek compensation.

4. The same anti-ISDS critiques have been leveled for decades, and the sky has not yet fallen. Those opposed to ISDS have been rehashing the same tired, false and discredited critiques for years, and they continue to be rejected by policymakers, including most recently in 2015 when a bipartisan majority strongly rejected Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) amendment to eliminate ISDS from Trade Promotion Authority; Consider the main critiques:

  • Types of cases: The vast majority of cases are about individual permit authorizations and the treatment of individual investors, not broad public interest regulation.
  • Types of claimants: Most claimants are individuals and small and medium businesses.
  • Impact on government regulation: ISDS panels can only order compensation, not a change in government policy. And not one case has ever found a violation of the investment rules through a nondiscriminatory, broadly applied public interest regulation.
  • Number of cases: Less than 20 cases have been filed against the United States in more than 20 years, even though the United States is the largest destination for foreign investment. Loud claims that the Korea–U.S. trade agreement would lead to hundreds of cases against the United States, for example, have continued to fall flat; not one case has been brought against the United States in the five years that agreement has been in force. Contrast that experience to the tens of thousands of cases filed in U.S. Federal Claims court every year on similar property claims.
  • Alternatives: Political risk insurance is a highly limited approach, far too expensive for small business and does not even begin to combat the broader investment rules that are vital to discipline foreign government market-distorting forced localization and other measures. When official government risk insurance is used, it would be the U.S. taxpayer, not the foreign government, bearing the cost of a foreign government seizure of America’s own property.
  • ISDS arbitrators: Arbitrators are chosen collectively by both sides in a dispute, are respected experts and held to strict ethical standards. If there is a bias, it is in favor of governments that win the vast majority of cases.

And as for letters, let us take a look at some from those who are experts in this field. Take a moment to look at this letter from academics whose actual expertise is in international law, arbitration and dispute settlement that strongly support the ISDS system. Or consider this statement of the International Bar Association, the world’s leading organization of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies, that felt the need to correct the record on ISDS because “erroneous information is subverting debate.”

As more than a hundred business groups representing millions of small, medium and large companies across every sector of the economy recently explained, investment rules and ISDS are very much in America’s interest as we all seek to grow manufacturing, well-paying jobs and U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.