Shopfloor Main

NAM, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Issue Open Letter on Behalf of American Workers and Retirees

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Today, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue published a joint open letter calling for reforms to the proxy advisory system.

The letter, published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Hill and Politico, outlines the impact that proxy advisory firms have on publicly traded businesses and Main Street investors. Proxy advisory firms make recommendations and often automatically cast votes on behalf of intermediaries that hold shares of stock for American workers and retirees. These votes represent Main Street investors’ voice in corporate elections and on important company decisions. But proxy advisory firms operate without transparency and can provide advice that contains errors and is tainted by conflicts of interest.

The letter calls for reform in advance of tomorrow’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) roundtable on the proxy process. The two organizations also recently launched a major initiative to educate Main Street investors in 401(k)s and pension plans on the dangers proxy advisory firms pose to their retirement savings.

This joint effort follows the NAM’s submission of technical comments to the SEC advocating oversight of proxy advisory firms.

Manufacturing Day 2018: A Multimillion-Dollar Earned Media Success

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On October 5, manufacturers across America celebrated Manufacturing Day and kicked off a month full of exciting and inspirational events. Thousands of factories and technical schools opened their doors to parents, teachers and students to show what a career in modern manufacturing has to offer. Manufacturers will have to fill as many as 3 million jobs by 2025, and getting the word out about these incredible opportunities is what Manufacturing Day is all about. Nearly 3,000 events were held across the country, and in a sign of the growing profile of this national event, President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation recognizing Manufacturing Day for the second year in a row. It was the first time that a president has issued consecutive proclamations.

All of the buzz and excitement generated a tremendous amount of media coverage, which is critical in our efforts to educate the public. All told, Manufacturing Day generated more than $2.2 million worth of free print and television coverage that reached nearly 13 million people. And on social media, manufacturers reached more than 51 million people! Manufacturing Day trended nationally on Twitter, where it was mentioned more than 20,000 times.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) also used the occasion to release our third quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which was featured on The Drudge Report and made national headlines. Making these results all the more remarkable, Manufacturing Day launched right in the middle of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, which had taken over the national news cycle completely. That meant it was even harder for manufacturers to “break through.”

By any measurement, Manufacturing Day 2018 was a resounding success. It would not have been possible without the leadership of Carolyn Lee and The Manufacturing Institute—the NAM’s social impact arm, which leads the effort—as well as our sponsors: PTC, Ariel Corporation, Cooper Standard, Harley-Davidson, PepsiCo, the Plastics Industry Association, Samsung and Walmart. The hard work and commitment paid off and opened the eyes of thousands of young people to the exciting possibilities that await them in a modern manufacturing career.

To learn about this year’s activities and how you can participate next year, check out

GE Appliances Is Launching an MFG Jobs Program for High School Seniors. Others Should Start Doing the Same.

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Here at GE Appliances, a Haier company, we spent every day during October celebrating Manufacturing Month. We kicked off the month announcing an expansion of our dish and laundry lines, adding 400 production jobs at our headquarters in Louisville. We closed the month by launching two new programs that we believe will be national models for helping build the next generation of American manufacturers and strengthening the local partnership between our business and Kentucky’s largest school district.

The first program, GEA2DAY, offers opportunities for high school seniors and others to join our weekly two-day workforce that provides a $14-an-hour wage, real-world work experience and up to $6,000 per year in college tuition. The 150 new GEA2DAY associates will only work two days a week on Mondays and Fridays. As most full-time employees use their vacation and discretionary days to extend the weekend, this new program helps us fill a staffing need and creates life-changing opportunities for students who need the flexibility to work and go to school.

The second program is a virtual classroom experience for students in our Academies of Louisville manufacturing program at Doss High School. Students will be able to take a virtual tour of GE Appliances (GEA) and have a live web chat with our employees where they can ask about career opportunities, job responsibilities and the education and experience they need to apply for these jobs in the future. Students will also be given a real-world manufacturing problem to solve for us. The top students will present their projects to a panel of GEA executives.

These new initiatives build on our longstanding partnerships with the KYFAME program, the Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology Center opening in 2020 at our local technical college, and the many apprenticeship opportunities we offer. These are exciting times here at GEA. We are building on our past partnerships and keeping our promise on workforce development. We are breaking the mold, adapting to workforce needs and creating new opportunities for our employees and the community we call home.

In addition to serving as chief operating officer at GEA, I am also on the board of the National Association of Manufacturers. As leaders in the manufacturing and business communities, we have a special obligation to open paths to opportunity for everyone. That’s why, if you’re not leading by example, the time is now to create similar experiences for students in their communities. At GEA, one of our guiding principles is that “partnerships matter and we do better together.” If, as an industry, we are going to recruit and retain the best employees, we must create meaningful partnerships with our public schools that nurture real and meaningful learning experiences for students while exciting them about the possibility of careers in manufacturing.

I look forward to hearing from you about the partnerships you’ve developed in your communities and how we can all partner together to positively work with schools in forging new paths that are meaningful for companies, educators and students.

Melanie Cook is the chief operating officer of GE Appliances, a Haier company.

Breaking Through: Manufacturers Call for Robust Trade Agenda and Elimination of Unfair Trade Barriers

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Getting trade right is not just a theory: the very success of American manufacturers from Boise to Buffalo depends on a strong trade agenda. Manufacturers in the United States have already been able to benefit substantially from global economic growth—including record international levels of demand among the 95 percent of consumers who live outside of our borders for high-quality consumer and durable manufactured goods—thanks in large part to trade agreements that lower barriers and enforce fair rules of the road for commerce. In fact, U.S. manufacturing output and exports have quadrupled over the past 25 years as a result of these types of agreements and policies. Yet, despite that growth, major barriers remain that continue to hold back even greater success for our nation’s manufacturers.

That’s why, in a detailed written submission filed yesterday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) called on the U.S. government to tackle trade barriers confronting manufacturers in markets around the world.

The NAM’s submission explains that despite the major success manufacturers in the United States have enjoyed in the global marketplace, a host of barriers—from unfair import policies to weak enforcement of intellectual property (IP), from investment barriers to technical barriers to trade—place real roadblocks to expanding U.S. manufacturing, particularly in markets such as China and India. This year’s submission includes those two countries along with Brazil, Indonesia and Russia among its top-priority countries across a range of issues. The submission also targets additional countries and regions for more focused concerns on specific issues, such as Canada (for IP enforcement), Colombia (IP enforcement) and the European Union (technical barriers to trade).

Recent developments involving top trade issues such as the new United States-Mexico-Canada agreement and China trade tensions underscore just how important strong, trading rules that open markets are for manufacturers in the United States, large and small. From negotiating new high-standard market-opening trade agreements, to fully enforcing existing trade and investment agreements, to working with allies and partners to strengthen international trade-related rules at the World Trade Organization, there’s a lot our government officials can do to expand trade and investment opportunities for manufacturers that will support economic growth, high-wage jobs and a fair playing field.