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Leadership Engagement Series Continues in Houston

The NAM’s Leadership Engagement Series, a nationwide roadshow aimed at elevating top manufacturing priorities, continued today in Houston. Today’s event featured a panel discussion led by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, who was joined by BP America Chairman and President John Mingé. Also participating were the CEOs of Emerson, Fluor Corporation, and Marlin Steel Wire Products. Our panelists shared their insights on a wide range of topics, including national energy policy and Washington’s legislative agenda for the rest of the year.

Of particular concern to our panelists and manufacturers participating in today’s event is the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). The Ex-Im bank remains an invaluable tool for manufacturers, especially smaller companies, who rely on the bank’s funding to help finance export projects. Yet Ex-Im is currently in danger of being shut down if not reauthorized by Congress by the end of September, an outcome that would have dire consequences for Texas’ economy.

Houston Leadership EventThat’s because exports are a big business in Texas. Manufacturing accounts for more than 93 percent of Texas’ exports, which in turn support over 26 percent of Texas manufacturing jobs. And most of those exporters are small companies, not large corporations. Without the Export-Import Bank, many of these smaller manufacturers could find themselves shut out of a critical source of capital financing for their businesses, putting jobs in jeopardy.

Ex-Im was just one of many topics discussed and debated at today’s Leadership Engagement Series. There are a multitude of challenges being faced by manufacturers in today’s economic and political climate, and in the coming weeks the NAM will use these types of forums to help engage manufacturing leaders in the political process.

Stay tuned for updates from our next Leadership Engagement Series stop, coming up on September 15th in Iowa.

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PPG Brings Lawmaker to Discussion with Manufacturers

Manufacturers are keeping up the dialogue with policymakers during the August recess, taking advantage of the opportunity to bend their ears about pro-growth policies.

Among these meetings was a discussion hosted this week by PPG Industries with 25 companies in attend. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA-03), a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, met with manufacturers for 2 hours to talk about tax reform, regulation, Ex-Im Bank reauthorization and the critical need for bipartisan cooperation to accomplish the hard work that must be done.

Rep. Kelly, a friend to manufacturers with a 100% voting record with the NAM during this Congress, knows firsthand the impact that Washington policies have on business owners across the country. Manufacturers were especially pleased with his dedication to reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.

Manufacturers in the U.S. are more engaged than ever – and we’ll be keeping up the drumbeat all summer long.

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NLRB Loses in the Fifth Circuit, But the Controversy Continues

For reasons not entirely clear to legal experts, the NLRB opted to not appeal a Fifth Circuit ruling in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB reversing their stance that a company cannot require its employees to consent to mandatory arbitration and class action waivers.  The Fifth Circuit is not alone; other federal and state courts have also disfavored the NLRB’s viewpoint.  Despite this trend and although the NLRB allowed the deadline to pass without requesting certiorari, attorneys involved in the controversial issue expect the that the agency will not change its position.

When the case entered federal court, the NAM filed an amicus brief. on June 6, 2012 arguing that prohibiting mandatory arbitration and class action waivers upon employment will increase costs for companies and result in unnecessary litigation.  Furthermore, the NAM challenged the NLRB’s authority to regulate individual contracts dealing with rights not covered by the National Labor Relations Act.  The court agreed and determined that the NLRB’s decision went beyond its statutory authority.

As the landscape now stands, companies will likely prevail in federal court on the issue, but will still battle the NLRB at the agency level.  It is possible that the NLRB refused to appeal the case to the high court because it feared an adverse ruling.  If this clash between agency and federal court continues, the Supreme Court will likely have to review the issue.  The NAM will continue to weigh in on this issue and take whatever steps appropriate to prohibit the NLRB from stepping outside its statutory authority.

Ryan Sims is a Law Clerk for the Manufacturing Center for Legal Action

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Toro – An American Icon – Turns 100

Toro Co. has been building and growing for 100 years and the Minnesota based manufacturer is showing no signs of slowing down. Coinciding with the company’s centennial celebration was the grand opening of a $25 million addition to their headquarters, expanding their already massive manufacturing space by 75,000 square feet.

Toro, since its beginnings as a small tractor engine company it 1914, has grown to be a fixture in Bloomington. The expansion will create and keep hundreds of R&D jobs in Minnesota. It’s a continuation of a deep commitment to R&D that has helped Toro become not just a leader in their industry, but a pioneer.

For all of us, Toro is an American icon – their lawnmowers are a symbol of summer and staple in homes, parks and golf courses. Of course, that’s not all they do – they into the heavy equipment market and continuing to innovate.

Congratulations to a titan of manufacturing in the U.S. – here’s to 100 more years.

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Dodd-Frank Fix in Sight for Manufacturers

The Customer Protection and End User Relief Act (H.R. 4413) is up for vote in the House on Friday. This bill finally addresses the need to fix the unintended consequences of the Dodd-Frank act on derivative end-users.  Manufacturers use derivatives to stabilize risk and allow for further investment, not to game the system.   Congress knew that when they passed the financial reform law and it is past time that they remedy the significant negative impact on manufacturers.

Dorothy Coleman, the NAM’s vice president of tax and domestic economic policy, sent a letter to the House supporting the passage of H.R. 4413. In the letter, she noted that according to a survey released by the Coalition for Derivatives End-Users, ,“Absent clarification on margin requirements, manufacturers and other end-users that use derivatives to manage risk may be forced to sideline a median of $125 million away from business investment, R&D and job creation.” And even though the legislation comes four years late, the NAM has continued to push lawmakers and to clarify once and for all that manufacturers  should not be subject to unnecessary and burdensome derivatives regulation.

Manufacturers were free of blame for the economic crisis, but unfortunately they will soon receive an unintended punishment unless this issue is resolved. After four long years, manufacturers are hopeful that those in Congress have finally recognized the imminent need for this legislation.  The bipartisan support is there, now is the time for congressional action.

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Camp and Brady Talk Tax Reform in D.C.

It’s no secret that our tax system is broken and in desperate need of reform. Tax reform is a key priority for manufacturers in the U.S. and we have been working closely with policy makers to make it a reality.

Today, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) spoke to audiences about the future of tax reform.  Representative Camp, Ways and Means Committee Chairman, spoke at an event hosted by RealClearPolitics about his ongoing efforts to implement comprehensive reform.  Chairman Camp’s introduction of a comprehensive bill has been a major step forward in a painstaking but critical process. Manufacturers appreciate his commitment.

Until we see a reformed tax code, the current system will continue to be an anchor on manufacturers.

Echoing this message to members of the business community at Microsoft’s D.C. headquarters, Rep. Brady, a Ways and Means Committee member, urged for a stronger pro-growth and pro-investment tax policy.  Rep. Brady, in addition to his support for comprehensive reform, has been a tireless advocate of a strengthened and permanent R&D credit.

In order to support a strong and competitive environment for manufacturers in the U.S., the passage of federal tax extenders for tax reform policy is crucial.  Tax credit extensions are the means to providing open avenues for manufacturing success.  In recent weeks, the House and Senate have begun to move in the right direction, passing extensions of the R&D tax credit, bonus depreciation, and Section 179 expensing.

The NAM has vigorously beaten the drum in support of tax credit extenders as a bridge to comprehensive tax reform.  We will continue to do so in order to keep investment, job creation and growth moving.

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Toyota Testifies on Connected Car Technology

The “connected car,” equipped with vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) sounds like a futuristic idea firmly set in science fiction – but that idea, once entrenched in fantasy, is quickly approaching reality.

This technological revolution happening in your automobiles is increasing safety, boosting fuel efficiency, and raising the convenience and comfort of riding in a car.

Toyota is playing a leading role in this revolution and Vice President of the Toyota Technical Center, Kristen Tabar, appeared before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology today to do discuss the future of surface transportation.

Tabar told the subcommittee members that, “We have no doubt that the technology will save lives, improve the environment, create jobs and help the U.S. maintain technical leadership in a field that will be an important contributor to economic growth in the future.” But she also spoke of the challenges that lie ahead in making the most of these innovations. She called on policymakers to support the major advances of V2V and V2I communication with greater investments in infrastructure and protection of medium-range wireless spectrum from unlicensed devices.

We all stand to benefit if Congress and the Administration put their full support behind making these important innovations part of everyone’s driving experience.

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KARLEE Celebrates 40 Years of Excellence

Today is a big day in Garland, Texas, as KARLEE threw open its doors to celebrate its 40th anniversary in business. Despite humble beginnings as a one-man operation performing precision machining started by Lee Brumit in a garage, KARLEE is a picture perfect American success story. Their outstanding work servicing the telecom, defense, medical, energy, aerospace and commercial industries has vaulted them to an impressive, modern manufacturer with 400 employees and 3 locations.

Now owned and operated by Jo Ann Brumit, the company is poised for even greater success. Jo Ann has received the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award presented by the President of the United States for business excellence; Athena Award for women in leadership; Texas Quality Award; Baylor University Well Managed Business Award and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Manufacturing by INC. Magazine, Ernst & Young. It’s no surprise that KARLEE has been named as on of the Dallas Top 100 and recognized with the Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award.

Today’s festivities included an open house, luncheon, and an evening reception. We at the NAM salute KARLEE’s commitment to excellence and here’s to 40 more great years!

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Manufacturing Summit Starts Off With a Bang

Today marked the beginning of the National Association of Manufacturing’s yearly summit.  The summit is the highlight of the manufacturing advocacy community.  Attended by over 400 manufacturers both large and small, it offers members an opportunity to discuss the industry’s progress over the past year as well as its future goals.  While this year’s summit offered a string of new speakers, the message remained unwaveringly clear.  Growth and Innovation is what drives the manufacturing industry.

The event kicked off with keynote address from Vice President Joe Biden.  His speech lauded manufacturers as the drivers of both global and domestic innovation.  The Vice President noted that this progress can be sustained with reinvestment into American infrastructure, immigration policy reform, and addressing our tax code.  A strong and unified approach on these issues is crucial to the current and future success of manufacturing in the U.S.

Directly after Biden’s speech, members headed to the Hill to meet with lawmakers.  With hundreds of meetings scheduled, manufacturing leaders and advocates are urging policymakers to make bi-partisan progress on key growth issues.  On Wednesday, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) will speak to members on the second day of the summit.  The speech promises to provide manufacturers and advocates with an even more prominent and vocal message for the Hill.

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Increasing the Cost of Insuring Pensions Takes a Toll on Jobs and Economic Growth

A new study released this week by the NAM and Pension Coalition confirms what manufacturers have known all along – PBGC premium increases hurt jobs and the economy. The study, entitled Increasing Pension Premiums: The Impact on Jobs and Economic Growth, has already raised some eyebrows in Congress and the media, and is even getting the attention of the PBGC.

The Pension Coalition study was released Wednesday before the media and congressional staff from both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. During the congressional briefings, Jeff Werling, author of the study, explained how the Administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal piled on top of the nearly $17 billion over 10 years in PBGC premiums that were enacted in 2013 and 2012, could cost an average of 42,000 jobs per year, translating into a cumulative $51.4 billion hit to the U.S. economy over 11 years.

Since manufacturers pay the most in PBGC premiums out of any industry, NAM member companies participated in the briefing to drive home the significant costs for manufacturers. Etta Strong, Director of Compensation and Benefits for Owens-Illinois (O-I) and Pat Henderson, Director of Government Relations for Quad/Graphics, Inc. discussed how paying more in PBGC premiums negatively impacts plan participants and hinder business investments.

For example, for glass container manufacturer O-I, the additional premium increases takes resources away from building a new furnace to make containers for food and beverage products, and for Quad/Graphics, further premiums could impact their ability to buy a new printing press that would improve efficiency for their global printing business. These two companies also signed on to NAM-led letters to the House and Senate sent just prior to the release of the study. These letters were signed by 68 companies and associations in a united voice against any further PBGC premium increases.

The study was highlighted in the press by Bloomberg BNA (subscription required) and Pensions & Investments. Even Josh Gotbaum, Director of the PBGC issued a statement in direct response to the study, pointing at Congress for setting premiums in ways that could convince some companies that “they shouldn’t offer pensions at all.”

Pension Study Documents

Click here for the press release.

Click here to view the executive summary.

Click here to view the complete study results.


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