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Robyn Boerstling

Protect Maryland’s Innovators, Reject “Transparency” Legislation

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

From automobile and steel production to print and publishing services, Maryland manufacturers and other research-based companies today serve as global innovators. Manufacturers in particular account for more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the United States. R&D is critical to both their success and the countless other Maryland enterprises that rely on them. And in an extremely competitive global economy, if a company isn’t innovating, it’s falling behind. Read More

Protect Montana’s Innovators, “Transparency” Legislation Is Wrong Approach

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Montana manufacturers, technology companies and other research-based operations are global innovators. Manufacturers in particular account for more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the United States. R&D is critical to the success of the countless Montana enterprises that rely on innovation. And in an extremely competitive global economy, if a company isn’t innovating, it’s falling behind.

This is especially true for biopharmaceutical manufacturers creating new medicines for patients and animals. However, the price of manufacturing a new medicine is extremely costly and risky. On average, it takes a decade to bring a new patient medicine through the entire R&D process and into the marketplace, and only about 12 percent of the medicines that enter the process are actually approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that manufacturers’ R&D and proprietary information are not compromised.

Unfortunately, “transparency” legislation was recently introduced in Montana that would force biopharmaceutical manufacturers to turn over highly confidential information and proprietary data related to R&D as well as sales and marketing costs. This approach would have damaging effects and would not reduce health care costs. Requiring manufacturers to publicly reveal a breakdown of specific costs and information related to trade secrets would in no way benefit consumers and could impede competition, which would drive up costs.

The time, effort and costs associated with bringing new medicines or products to market must be acknowledged and valued. While this specific bill is targeted at manufacturers of medicine, it sets an alarming precedent for manufacturers across all industries. In short, it’s a slippery slope for all industries once established.  Any legislation that jeopardizes manufacturers’ highly confidential information and deters innovators from innovating is a threat to consumers, manufacturing jobs and the state’s economy.

The manufacturing industry employs more than 18,700 Montanans in high-skilled and high-wage jobs. Policymakers in Montana and at the federal level should work to create policies that help innovators attract and retain investment. The NAM opposes any efforts that would invalidate longstanding intellectual property and trade secrets protections and force manufacturers of medicines to heed new government-driven demands that are contrary to basic free market principles.

Manufacturers Deliver a United Call to Invest in Infrastructure Now

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Republicans and Democrats unified today to advance an infrastructure agenda in the 115th Congress. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) began the hearing “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America” by referencing a letter to President Donald Trump from nearly 400 manufacturing, labor, business, construction and policy groups urging for a broad infrastructure bill that addresses all types of infrastructure and includes a solution to make the Highway Trust Fund solvent. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) worked with a broad business coalition to secure support for the effort from national organizations as well as local and state groups from every state in the country.

Committee members heard a united message about the immediate need to upgrade transportation and infrastructure systems to ensure U.S. global competitiveness. Testimony came from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and four NAM members:

  • Frederick Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corporation
  • David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill, Incorporated
  • Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW of North America
  • Mary Andringa, chair of the board of Vermeer Corporation

Andringa shared Vermeer’s Lean journey and the steps taken to reduce waste and increase efficiency in the manufacturing process.

“If ports are clogged, trucks are delayed, power is down or the internet has a lapse, productivity and customer service are impacted,” said Andringa. This is not just my story. Across the manufacturing sector, transportation logistics matter, and congestion—whether at a port or on a crowded highway—is waste that drives the consumer’s cost up like a hidden tax.”

To read more of Andringa’s testimony, click here. To watch the hearing, click here.

The NAM will continue to educate new members of the 115th Congress about the central role infrastructure plays on the shop floor and will continue to lead advocacy efforts supporting a 21st-century infrastructure system. In Building to Win, the NAM described the immediate need to update our roads, bridges, transit systems, ports, inland waterways, broadband and telecommunications networks, airports and runways, pipelines, energy infrastructure, drinking water and wastewater systems and railways. The blueprint includes solutions, such as possible funding and financing mechanisms, as well as good governance policy reforms, such as streamlining permitting.

While manufacturers were encouraged by President Trump’s campaign promise to rebuild American infrastructure and make it “second to none,” accomplishing this will require continued advocacy and education efforts to gather the bipartisan support to encourage a significant change from the status quo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAM Supports Bill to Repeal Health Insurance Tax

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The onerous Health Insurance Tax included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was delayed thanks to bipartisan congressional action in 2015, and now new efforts to permanently repeal the anticipated 2018 tax are in the beginning stages.

Today, Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced important legislation that repeals section 9010 of the ACA, a provision that levies a $100 billion tax on fully insured health plans—the primary health care option for many small and medium-sized manufacturers. Although officially a tax on health insurance plans, it is a “pass-through,” and the obligation is placed directly on those who are purchasing full-insured health plans.

The NAM has long supported repeal of this tax as it raises the cost of health care and provides an additional burden for employers who are also struggling to manage the overwhelming health care mandates and paperwork demands required by the ACA.

Manufacturers are proud to provide health insurance benefits for their employees, and in fact, 98 percent of manufacturers provide health insurance. Repeal of this tax will offer needed relief for smaller manufacturers who want to maintain a healthy workforce and continue doing right by their employees. However, challenges from the ACA are making it increasingly difficult to do so.

No one understands the frustrations of our health care system quite like manufacturersrising health care and insurance costs are a top business challenge in our most recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey. The Competing to Win agenda and health care policy blueprint of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) calls on the next Congress and administration to find solutions that will successfully eliminate the costliest and most problematic aspects of the ACA. The NAM appreciates the leadership of Reps. Noem and Sinema and urges Congress not only to consider this important legislation but also include it in the upcoming budget reconciliation package, along with a repeal of the Cadillac and medical device taxes.

The Workforce of Tomorrow

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The incoming Trump administration has placed a high value on the need to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. With more than 12 million manufacturing workers in the United States, accounting for 9 percent of the workforce, it is clear to see why. These jobs are the backbone of our economy.

However, to keep jobs in the United States, we must address the fundamental reality that there is a skills gap in manufacturing that is widening each year: the skills workers have are not always the skills that are in demand. Current projections forecast nearly 2 million jobs will remain unfilled over the next 10 years due to the skills gap. Read More

Immigration Reform to Strengthen Manufacturing and Competitiveness

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

 

As the nation moves forward under new leadership, one of the greatest challenges we continue to face is finding a way to manage and improve the broken immigration system.

From frustrations about security at the southern border to a legal immigration system that is unresponsive to employer needs, both Democrats and Republicans agree the immigration system is not functional. The system as it stands today frustrates those who come in contact with a sprawling bureaucracy and cumbersome process that appears accountable to no one.

Reform of the immigration system is not a simple exercise. Each change, even small changes in the regulatory sphere, can affect thousands of manufacturing employees and cost millions of dollars. Careful consideration must be made to address the apprehensions of many Americans, such as border security.

We need to create a workable system for lesser skilled immigrants that allows workers to be in the United States when there is demand and lets us know who is here.

Our system for higher skilled immigrants deserves reform, too. The current system is too limited and inflexible and actually sends innovation and jobs overseas. We are driving out foreign-born talent, often educated in the United States, who then compete against us instead of working with us. They are moving abroad to work, manufacture and innovate, when their talents could be put to use here to grow our economy and create new jobs.

Congress and the next administration have an obligation to holistically tackle this public policy challenge. Manufacturers believe that immigration reform must be revisited in 2017.

Immigrants, at all skill levels, come to this country because they want to work. We are a country built by immigrants and a nation where immigrants thrive more than anywhere in the world. We need not only to ensure that we are keeping threats to the Unites States out, but also bringing skills, talents and ambition that will help this country grow. As manufacturers have laid our in our “Competing to Win” immigration blueprint, we must do the following:

  • Ensure manufactures’ reliable access to talent at all skill levels.
  • Offer career opportunities to keep talent onshore.
  • Address the undocumented worker population in a practical, moral and respectful way.
  • Advance a rigorous and fair employment verification system.
  • Improve safety and security at the border in a workable way that allows for the free trade of goods.

Comprehensive reform can strengthen our economy and country. We should not turn our back on the opportunity for stability and security.

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.

 

Competing to Win: How to Accelerate Manufacturing Innovation

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

Autonomous vehicles. Smart phones. Lifesaving medicines. All are made possible by the innovation of manufacturers. Technology is transforming the manufacturing industry, and the manufacturing industry is transforming our world.

Manufacturers in the United States perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector, changing our society and helping Americans live better lives. But our continued progress is not guaranteed. We need our leaders to embrace policies that encourage innovation—not stand in its way—because a country that can’t invent can’t lead.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has laid manufacturers’ technology policy priorities in a new blueprint, as part of our “Competing to Win” agenda:

  • Enable a regulatory and legislative climate that creates the conditions for discovering the next great life-changing inventions.
  • Secure those inventions by protecting the intellectual property rights of manufacturers.
  • Partner with the industry in the area of cybersecurity but not through the creation of a new and unnecessary regulatory regime.
  • Encourage the growth of connected technology when they consider updating our telecommunications laws.

The technologies embraced by manufacturers in the 21st century are improving business models, transforming customer relationships and re-inventing the world. Policymakers in Washington now must decide whether they will accelerate, or stand in the way, of a new economy that innovates and works better for everyone.

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.

Manufacturers’ Prescription for Health Care

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

After the economy and jobs, Americans rate health care as their top public policy concern. And the majority of Americans (54 percent) disapprove of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to the Pew Research Center.

No one understands the frustrations of our health care system quite like manufacturers. In the National Association of Manufacturers most recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, rising health care and insurance costs ranked as a top business challenge among NAM members (74.8 percent), slightly ahead of an unfavorable business climate (73.6 percent). There are a host of factors that lead to this frustration, and many feel trapped in a problem that is of the government’s making.

Americans deserve better than this. We are a nation that prides itself on first-class, best-in-the-world medical care. Our institutions, public and private, continue to lead the world on patient care, lifesaving treatments and medical research. But we have to keep working to control or lower the cost of coverage through reasonable approaches.

So manufacturers, through our “Competing to Win” agenda and health care policy blueprint, are calling on the next Congress and administration to find solutions that will successfully eliminate the costliest and most problematic aspects of the ACA:

  • The 40 percent tax on employee benefits and other mandated taxes
  • Onerous administrative requirements
  • Upward pressure on medical liability costs

Manufacturers also believe reform should have some key goals:

  • Encourage flexibility and data sharing
  • Allow for new innovations in coverage options rather than locking in one model
  • Provide consumers more information to make better choices

Manufacturers recognize that providing health care coverage is a necessity to remain competitive in attracting talent and maintaining a healthy, stable workforce. It’s what is right for employees.

Ninety-eight percent of manufacturers offer health insurance to employees, and when asked about how they might react to increasing costs for offering health care in an NAM survey of members, only 1.6 percent planned to stop providing coverage.

Without action from our leaders, manufacturers have innovated with their own solutions to improve health care:

  • Opting for new plans and payment arrangements
  • Bringing medical care, pharmacy services and wellness programs on-site or near-site
  • Focusing on addressing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and asthma

If President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congress follow manufacturers’ lead, our people and our economy will be healthier for it.

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.