With the elections behind us, a new President in office and the ballots recounted in Minnesota, voting seems a distant obligation. If, however, voting represents our personal choices, beliefs and preferences, then we vote everyday.
Each time we open our wallet (or purse) to pay for goods or services, we are in effect saying “I support” this product, this service, or this cause”. While most of us will give careful consideration to the charities we choose to support, we give little thought to the beneficiary of our purchases. Who made the product? Who owns the Company? Who’s on the payroll? Where do the profits ultimately go?
American made products are scarcer than ever, regardless of the price we are willing to pay. How long can we as a Nation, survive the burden of massive and ever increasing trade deficits?
Our home values are based in part, on their proximity to good paying jobs (with benefits), as jobs go elsewhere so goes our home value. Decreasing home and commercial values cause a decrease in taxable value, the primary source of Fire Department funding.
While we as individuals can’t control the complex factors driving the World’s economy, we can decide who gets our hard earned dollars. Although difficult to find, American made products do exist. I have a dream that when approached by the greeter at Wal-Mart (or wherever) and asked “can I help you?” millions of Americans will respond with something like “yes, could you please show me the American Made products?---Oh you don’t have any, goodbye.”
Even the staunch pillars of “Union Made” clothing are weakening; Carhartt, Red Wing and uniform supply stores now all carry an imported line and we are required to ask specifically for the AMERICAN MADE LINE.
Having been to many MPFFU, IAFF and AFL-CIO functions, I have amassed a worthy collection of Union Made attire. Within my closet full of foreign made clothing, these items stand nearly alone. Buying American it seems, is much harder than it should be.
At a recent Labor seminar, called America at Work I found the following web sites offering American Made Products:
- www.unionofficesolutions.com (Printing, attire, office equip.)
- www.usacoffeecompany.com (Union made, all American coffee)
- www.unionmadeclothing.com (Jeans, coats, shirts)
- www.allamericanclothing.com (Jeans, coats, shirts)
- www.backdraftproducts.us (Shirts, hats and logos)
- www.algomanet.com (Satchels, tote bags, chairs, carts)
- www.atc-ny.com (Watches, clocks, award items)
A guest speakers at the 2004 MPFFU Convention held in Southfield was Roger Simmermaker author of How Americans Can Buy American. His book describes many of the factors which led to our current situation as well as listing which companies are American owned, and which products are American Made. I highly recommend this book. Do you know any good sources?
As Americans we vote for the candidates who support our cause. As American consumers we need to support with our dollars, those who support American labor.
Thomas R. Colombo
President Local 1029