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Media Relations

Business Community Unites Around Ross Nomination

By | Communications, Media Relations, Shopfloor Main, Trade | No Comments

Today more than 400 businesses and business organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging support for the confirmation of Wilbur Ross as secretary of commerce. Spearheaded by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the letter urges swift action on Mr. Ross’ confirmation.

“We believe that Wilbur Ross will bring a unique understanding of what it takes to fuel manufacturing enterprises to this vital role,” the letter reads. “Mr. Ross has a firsthand understanding of the challenges manufacturers face to remain globally competitive in today’s economy.”

Read the full letter here.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons also sent a letter yesterday on behalf of the NAM offering his support for Ross’ confirmation.

“Wilbur is a businessman with extensive experience in a wide range of industries who knows firsthand what policies it takes to promote competitiveness, investment, job creation and durable economic growth,” Timmons wrote. “In particular, Wilbur has extensive experience in the manufacturing sector and understands the critical need for pro-growth trade, tax and other economic policies.”

Timmons’ letter is available in its entirety here.

New Study: Manufacturers Face 297,696 Regulatory Restrictions

By | Communications, Media Relations, Regulations, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

As the incoming Trump administration prepares to reform and roll back many misguided federal regulations, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released a new study revealing the sheer number of business and operational hurdles that manufacturers face on a daily basis as a result of the nation’s current regulatory structure. Read More

An Honest Discussion on the Army’s DAPL Decision

By | Communications, Energy, Media Relations | No Comments

Following the announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe, there continues to be headlines and rhetoric advertising the project’s demise. But a number of the United States’ top-tier editorial boards understood that this decision is more than the headlines suggested.

First an editorial out by The Wall Street Journal discussed the exhaustive consultations between the company, native tribes and regulators that resulted in a finding of “no significant impact” and highlighted that the Corps’ decision “has jeopardized its integrity and created a legal quagmire by requiring an exhaustive new environmental impact statement that considers alternative routes.”

Another piece by USA Today touted the importance of the project stating:

“It would be the first major pipeline bringing access to the Bakken oil fields that have been so much a part of America’s energy production renaissance…pipelines fill a vital need for the economy and for America’s energy security and therefore need to be built.”

It also noted how attempts by environmentalists to thwart this project are not the proper way to reach climate change goals, noting that [this decision] “will have little impact on the environment beyond their immediate environs.”

Finally, the most recent article by the The Washington Post’s editorial team, titled “A False Victory at Standing Rock,” recapped the lead-up of activity to the decision and put this recent announcement into perspective echoing USA Today’s sentiments:

“No matter how big the issues activists attached to them, these pipelines, at their core, are nothing more than routine infrastructure projects, thousands of which underpin the U.S. economy. The approval or denial of one or two will do little to cure global oil addiction or right generations of harm to tribal groups.”

This decision and its coverage is a key example of why this debate needs a robust and honest discussion about our nation’s infrastructure. The reality is manufacturers have benefited significantly from access to this clean, safe and affordable energy source. But we need to further invest in our nation’s energy infrastructure projects to deliver natural gas to businesses and communities across the nation to strengthen our advantage in this increasingly competitive market.

It’s time for stakeholders who will truly benefit from these projects to raise their voices and tell our new administration that to have further growth and success, Americans will need infrastructure to ensure that the nation’s ample supply of resources are delivered efficiently, safely and securely to the end users who need it.

Paul Ryan Speaker Infographic.jpg

Manufacturers Welcome Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House

By | General, Media Relations, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Washington, D.C., October 29, 2015 – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) confirmation as the new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“In politics, it is easy to spot the differences between those who are genuine and those who are in elected office for all the wrong reasons. Nothing in the government is more important than personal integrity. We can find truly good people on both sides of the political aisle, and in my view, Speaker Ryan is one of the absolute best.

“In his ascendance to the speakership, he has clearly demonstrated that he is taking on this new role, second in the line of succession to the presidency, not for the good of his career, but for the good of the institution of the House of Representatives and our country.

“Regardless of your philosophy, I believe we can all be assured Speaker Ryan will approach his job from a position of integrity and compassion and with the best interests of all Americans in mind.

“While we recognize that manufacturers won’t always agree with Speaker Ryan on every issue, we know that we can count on him to respond to the concerns and priorities of the NAM’s more than 14,000 member companies and America’s more than 12 million manufacturing workers with a listening ear and an open mind—as he has done on many issues over the years.

“Today, manufacturers are grateful for Speaker Boehner’s commitment to the principles that make manufacturing strong and our country exceptional. And we look forward to Speaker Ryan advancing all of these principles—with leadership and continued friendship. We are hopeful that his election will help Congress move forward as a fully functional lawmaking body serving the American people and promoting the values that make America truly exceptional.”

Manufacturing is Back! A Good Storyline, But Let’s Not Oversell It

By | Economy, General, Media Relations | No Comments

There sure have been a lot of stories lately about the revival of manufacturing in the United States, examining the rise of productivity, investment and employment. Indeed, since the dark days of 2008, manufacturing has led the economic recovery and company leaders are generally optimistic.

Today’s front page of The Washington Post provides an example. The story is “The Rust Belt Shows Some Luster“:

NORTH CANTON, OHIO — More than 1,000 applicants began lining up this week outside a former Hoover vacuum plant here in the hopes of joining a surprising trend in this part of the nation’s manufacturing heartland: new jobs.

Come June, the plant will be churning out EdenPure space heaters, vacuums, air purifiers and other small appliances once made in China. The turnabout for this factory and scores of others across the long-suffering Rust Belt offers vivid evidence of a budding revival in American manufacturing that has been a key driver of the economic recovery.

The nation’s factories have added 250,000 jobs since the beginning of last year — about 13 percent of what was lost during the recent recession — marking the first sustained increase in manufacturing employment since 1997.

The Post provides a counterpoint: The jobs don’t pay as much as they used to, back in the halcyon days of American manufacturing. The photo gallery included with the online package tells the story: “There’s a surprising trend in the long-suffering manufacturing heartland: new jobs. But even so, the hiring reflects another emerging reality of U.S. manufacturing: Jobs don’t pay what they used to.”

Other recent examples of this trend story:

Yes,  FT had the same story the Post did today more than two weeks ago, with both papers citing the same economist, Mark Perry of the University of Michigan in Flint (currently a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute). The Post’s story has more detail and local color, though. Nothing wrong with covering the same news.

Still, it makes us nervous to see so many articles pile up about manufacturing’s growing might.  It’s a trend story, the conventional wisdom, and it’s journalistic practice to follow up with rebuttals and popping of balloons. In political journalism, you build up a candidate’s reputation and prospects only to tear him down later. When do the backlash stories about manufacturing begin?

Scientific Method Disproves the BPA Scare, Again

By | Media Relations, Regulations | 2 Comments

From The American, the online magazine of the American Enterprise Institute, “A Toxic Setback for the Anti-Plastic Campaigners“:

Advocacy groups targeting plastic products made with bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates took it on the chin last week.

A comprehensive review by the German Society of Toxicology of thousands of studies on BPA concluded, “[BPA] exposure represents no noteworthy risk to the health of the human population, including newborns and babies.” The group, which included several scientists who have advised regulatory caution on BPA, bucked calls by advocacy groups to lower safe exposure levels…

In reviewing what it called a long-running “scientific and journalistic controversy,” the panel urged the public to avoid being seduced by each and every provocative small-scale laboratory experiment on a handful of rats. “It is not helpful to count how many academic studies are positive versus negative and to decide by majority vote whether a health hazard has to be expected or not,” as the anti-BPA crowd and compliant media do as a matter of course. Science is not “majority feelings” win; it’s about “weight of evidence.”

Journalistic controversy is right. Consumer scares are the staple of today’s journalism, especially local TV news and the morning shows, which became avid consumers of hyped allegations made by self-interested activist groups (cheered on by trial lawyers).

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , a good newspaper, mounted a journalistic campaign against the chemical, driving public policy and winning a Scripps Howard prize in the process. We haven’t seen the German study reported yet in the paper. Soon, we’re sure.

Yes, it’s old hat. There are many, many examples of “consumer activists,” trial lawyers and their political allies attacking the chemical du jour to win publicity, votes, lawsuits and journalistic prizes. But in doing so, they exaggerate risk, play on people’s fears, create a demand for more government (and less freedom), and deprive the consumer of safe, useful and affordable products that make life more pleasant. Look at the kind of foolishness this phenomenon produces, courtesy ABC Channel 7 News in Denver:

DENVER — If you’re the type who has a wallet or purse full of receipts, you might want to throw them out. They could have the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, on them.

Give us the scientific method over fear-mongering any day.

In Colombia, March was Biggest Month for New Car Sales Ever

By | Media Relations, Trade | No Comments

Upon enactment of the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement, Colombia’s tariffs on U.S.-manufactured autos and auto parts will fall from 7.4 percent to zero. (White House fact sheet.)

Here’s the front page of Portafolio, the daily business newspaper in Colombia.

The lead story reports the agreement on the FTA with the headline, “After a long wait, Free Trade Agreement with U.S. Will Become a Reality.”

And the graphic tells the story of a growing market: “Sales of new cars rose 79.4 percent in March.”

The story in Spanish is here. From the Google translation, “New car sales in March totaled 32,320 units“:

As predicted by Portafolio.co, Econometrics SA showed that March was the best month ever. Sales broke the record of November 2010, when 30,963 units were sold. Additionally, the March figure was higher than the same month of 2010, which was 18,015 units.In total, the cumulative sales for the first quarter of 2011 reached 78,618 vehicles, which means that growth was 58.3 percent, compared to the same period in 2010, which 49,676 were invoiced.

The president of the Colombian Association Renault, Saulo Arboleda, said the market reacted to offers and good prices and the preliminary figure is “fantastic.”

The front page comes from Newseum.org, which publishes a global selection of newspaper front pages every day. We’re glad to see the Newseum will remain open in the event of a federal government shutdown. It’s an excellent museum, and Saturday it celebrates its third birthday.

Taxes ARE a Competitive Factor for Manufacturers

By | Media Relations, Taxation | No Comments

Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware writes about state competitiveness and what’s needed to attract businesses in a Washington Post op-ed today, “Taxes are the wrong focus for economic growth. He raises many serious points toward which manufacturers will be sympathetic:

[Where] will the innovation come from if we don’t make necessary investments in federally funded research? Who will take innovation to market if we don’t help millions of workers retool their skills with appropriate job training? How will we get these new goods to market cost-effectively if we don’t improve our infrastructure? These are precisely the investments other nations are making. We must, too.

The NAM’s Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America argues for the same priorities, among others. We’re with him.

Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware

Indeed, Gov. Markell, a Democrat, is a friend to manufacturing, and his State of the State address in January was right on the mark on how to encourage business.

Still, it seems to us that the Governor is offering a false dichotomy: tax competitiveness versus the other factors like R&D, skills and infrastructure. When Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin pounced on Illinois’ decision to raise income taxes by inviting companies to relocate to his state — a story Gov. Markell begins his column with — Gov. Walker was not just telling business he was going to keep taxes under control, he was sending the message that Wisconsin was going to put its entire house in order. A state that can’t balance its budget without a major tax increase is unlikely to set the other policy priorities needed to create a positive business climate.

The other consideration that Gov. Markell does not address is that competitiveness is really a global issue today. States continue to battle each other to attract business, but the real fight is on the country-to-country level.  Taxes are so critical in this competition,  and the United States is so far behind.

In the Tax Foundation’s latest Fiscal Fact, Scott Hodge reports, “Countdown to #1: 2011 Marks 20th Year That U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Is Higher than OECD Average“:

There is increasing recognition in Washington that the U.S. corporate tax rate is out of step with the lower tax rates of most industrialized and emerging nations. Indeed, 2011 marks the 20th year in which the U.S. statutory tax rate has been above the simple average of non-U.S. countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

It is now well known that with a combined federal and state corporate tax rate of 39.2 percent, the U.S. has the second-highest overall rate among OECD nations. Only Japan, with a combined rate of 39.5 percent, levies a higher rate.

As Gov. Markell points out, other countries’ governments are spending in critical areas like R&D, infrastructure and skills training. But here’s the point: They’re doing so even with corporate tax rates lower than in the United States.

NLRB Discontinues Google Ads, Says It Didn’t Pay for Them

By | Briefly Legal, Labor Unions, Media Relations | 3 Comments

Ben Smith at Politico writes about a “Fact Check” from the National Labor Relations Board, responding to blog posts — including this one at Shopfloor — that objected to the NLRB running Google ads. The NLRB states:

Google Ads

It has been reported that the NLRB spent Agency funds on Google ads. An initial review indicates that the ads were provided at no charge beginning in 2008 by Google. The Agency has decided to discontinue them.

Politico’s Smith observes: “Among the curious things about this: Google, serving as volunteer labor booster in this instance, is not exactly a union shop.” No, but CEO Eric Schmidt is supportive of the White House.

If the NLRB did not pay for the ads, as asserted here, our apologies for the error.

Odd, though. Many people in law firms and business groups follow the NLRB’s activities very closely. It’s funny that no one had ever commented on the ads before, if indeed they “were provided…beginning in 2008 by Google.”

Oh, and based on our search of the NLRB site, this is the first “Fact Check” the agency has essayed. Generally speaking, it seems like a reasonable practice for government agencies to call attention to clear error, but not if it’s just another spin operation.

More …

UPDATE (12:30 p.m. Sunday): Writing at Red State, the LaborUnionReport.com raises many interesting questions about the NLRB’s sponsorship of the ads. The post is well worth reading: “Union-Controlled NRLB Suddenly Pulls Google Ads on ‘How to Start a Union’.”

Now, without a law degree (although Holiday Inn Express is like a second home), it is unknown whether a private-sector company like Google is legally allowed to provide free ads to an agency of the federal government, or whether it is permitted for an agency of the federal government to accept free services without violating a certain law (or two).  That would be something for lawyers and, perhaps, Congressional committees to decide.

However, it would be interesting to know:

  • Who wrote the ad on “How to Start a Union”
  • What the total value of the free advertising was
  • When the NLRB began accepting free advertising from Google
  • How many other agencies are getting free advertising from Google
  • Whether Google is getting any other form of recompense or favorable treatment for its free advertising

Should the NLRB Be Buying Google Ads? To Promote the Formation of Unions?

By | General, Media Relations | 11 Comments

A reader brings the results of this Google search to our attention, which indicates the National Labor Relations Board is buying Google ads to help workers form unions.

We added the yellow screen. Here’s the ad by itself.

We tried replicating the search but could not generate the same ad. We did get this, however:

Government agencies often buy ads as part of public service campaigns, true. But this is the first time we’ve seen one use Google Adwords, which offers a variety of pricing strategies based on per clicks and search terms.

Medium aside, why is a federal agency using taxpayer dollars to promote the formation of unions? That’s what the first ad does.

UPDATE (1:55 p.m.): LaborUnionReport.com makes the same point, more pungently, “Tax-Payer Funded, Union-Run NLRB Using Google to Advertise ‘How to Start a Union’.”