Innovation and Continued Reforms Critical to Combating Rising Health Care Costs

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Yesterday morning the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing to discuss a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on the cost of prescription drugs.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent a letter to the Committee encouraging an approach that is focused on policies and reforms that are in step with the next generation of health care delivery and the development of new medicines.

No one is more frustrated with rising health care costs than manufacturers. Over the course of the year, a significant number of NAM members have reported premium increases of at least 10 percent annually. Additionally, manufacturers consistently rank rising health care costs as a top primary business challenge according to past NAM Outlook Surveys conducted each quarter.

Unfortunately, the National Academy of Sciences report is shortsighted and recommends approaches that will shift costs to the private sector. Furthermore, the report questions the critical importance of intellectual property protections and unfairly blames rigorous intellectual property rights for inhibiting more affordable treatments.

Improving outcomes, boosting innovation incentives and continuing to reduce the approval process for new medicines are a better focus than additional government interventions. Value-based arrangements that focus on outcomes are encouraging but outdated regulations need to be modernized in order to achieve greater acceptance, savings and increased efficiencies.

Protecting intellectual property and trade secrets for all manufacturers is absolutely critical to the success of the entire manufacturing industry. It is what gives manufacturers assurance that the billions of dollars and time spent developing new products are worth the investment. Without the right incentives, innovation will be curtailed and competition in the marketplace will decline.

Manufacturers are always ready for health care solutions and will work on efforts that support a successful, competitive and affordable health care system.

Congressman Rooney Bill Gives Power to Employees

By | Economy, Labor Unions, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) applauds Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL) for introducing the Current Employee Representation Act, H.R. 4327, which would give employees the choice to reconsider union representation should less than 50 percent of the current unit members are employed. Under current law, an employer has to file a petition when it is believed the current union does not have support from the majority of the employees in the bargaining unit. The employees then have to file for a decertification of the union. Rooney’s bill will put the power in the hands of the current employees by giving them the choice to be represented by the union who was chosen by a different group of employees. Employees will no longer have to live with the decisions made by their predecessors. Employees also want to continue with the union representation, but again, this will be of their choosing under Rooney’s bill. The NAM looks forward to this legislation moving forward and welcomes the change the bill will bring to union representation and empowering the current employee base.

Infrastructure Is Critical for Both Rural and Urban Shop Floors

By | Infrastructure, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that the administration’s infrastructure proposal would be released in the new year. At the same time, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy DJ Gribbin joined a bipartisan infrastructure conversation that featured House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), manufacturers, farmers, truckers and infrastructure financiers. Making manufacturing more competitive by advancing an infrastructure package that increases certainty was at the center of one panel discussion, titled “Rural America and an Infrastructure Package.”

Shop floors are commonly located in rural areas and rely on the same vital infrastructure needs as manufacturers in urban areas. Manufacturers look forward to a 2018 infrastructure package that advances and invests in energy, water, broadband and transportation infrastructure projects. Regardless of whether it is a rural or urban area, if ports are clogged, trucks are delayed, power is down or the internet has a lapse, productivity and customer service are impacted.

That said, rural infrastructure faces different challenges in funding and delivering projects given low population levels. They are often not suited to public–private partnerships. During the event, Gribbin outlined that President Donald Trump’s plan would include a special rural component or set-aside to ensure that rural infrastructure is not overlooked.

The National Association of Manufacturers continues to build support among diverse stakeholder groups by advancing a comprehensive infrastructure proposal in the House and Senate.

How Scott Garrett’s Nomination to Lead the Ex-Im Bank Is Already Putting Taxpayers at Risk

By | Economy, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

 

We already knew confirming Scott Garrett to lead the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank would be a terrible trade deal for American manufacturing workers. But now we’re learning even before he has had his nomination voted on in committee, Garrett is already causing problems for the agency and potentially putting taxpayers on the hook, too. As The Wall Street Journal reports today:

C.J. Hall, the government agency’s acting chairman, who is stepping down Saturday, said in an interview that the bank will likely become a drain on U.S. taxpayers next year if the Senate doesn’t act to fill its board, because it has stopped bringing in enough revenue through the fees it charges to guarantee financing deals for U.S. exporters.

The negative fiscal impact of not having a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank is deeply concerning and underscores why the agency cannot be led by someone like Garrett, who spent years trying to shut the bank down. The Wall Street Journal report also notes that Garrett currently does not have the votes to advance his nomination. So here’s the bottom line: Garrett’s toxicity is holding the confirmation process up and literally exposing taxpayers to increased federal deficits.

Given this fiscal reality and the apparent lack of votes to get Garrett’s nomination out of committee, it’s time for a new nominee to lead the Ex-Im Bank who believes in the agency’s mission and can rightfully earn senators’ support.

We need to have a stable, fully functioning Ex-Im Bank and the jobs and revenue that come along with it. A fully functioning Ex-Im Bank is good for manufacturers, good for workers and good for American global competitiveness. When fully functional, the Ex-Im Bank is a model agency that actually returns a surplus to the U.S. Treasury. As The Wall Street Journal notes:

The bank’s revenue comes primarily from its largest deals. If no such new deals are approved, the bank likely won’t be able to cover all of its expenses. Without a quorum, taxpayers also could lose out on about $492 million in surplus funds the bank projected it would otherwise send to Treasury.

That’s why the National Association of Manufacturers has steadfastly opposed Garrett’s nomination from the start and has also supported the president’s other four nominations to the Ex-Im Bank, who share the administration’s vigorous and outspoken support of American manufacturing workers and the agency.

Click here to learn more about Garrett’s reckless opposition to the Ex-Im Bank that has put manufacturing jobs in America at risk.

2017 Manufacturing Day Moments

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Now that October—also known as Manufacturing Month in many areas—has come and gone, we want to highlight some of the extraordinary efforts that manufacturers displayed under the MFG Day banner.

First up is the whopping 153 events BASF hosted across the nation throughout the year, engaging an estimated 15,301 people! That’s amazing. We applaud BASF for its ongoing work in promoting the manufacturing industry and encouraging participation from all over the country.

Northrop Grumman hosted an incredible 82 events, celebrating with governors, senators and STEM students. The Maryland site held its annual Manufacturing Wars competition, which challenges students to build a model of an Apache helicopter—that’s an experience those kids will never forget.

Throughout October, Caterpillar facilities across the United States celebrated Manufacturing Day, hosting 11 total events. From team-building exercises to hosting tours for high school students, Caterpillar went above and beyond to make this year’s Manufacturing Day a huge success. Check out Caterpillar employees’ 2017 selfies, describing why manufacturing matters!

PPG and the PPG Foundation marked Manufacturing Day with more than $90,000 in grants going to support STEM programs across the United States. The company also hosted 11 events that included plant tours, manufacturing demonstrations, panel discussions and more!

And continuing to contribute to these impressive efforts, Allegion hosted eight events impacting approximately 600 students, teachers, government officials and community leaders. Allegion showed off its outstanding day-to-day operations, and its employees are always eager to participate on the panels, give the tours and show off to the community what they make and the pride in their work.

These are just a few of the thousands that celebrated Manufacturing Day to inspire next-generation manufacturing workers. Check out the top-five states that hosted the most Manufacturing Day events this year:

  1. Michigan: 299 events
  2. Ohio: 257 events
  3. California: 241 events
  4. Pennsylvania: 192 events
  5. Iowa: 181 events

Manufacturing Day is all about recognizing the amazing work that manufacturers do every day. By working together during and after MFG Day, manufacturers can connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the industry. Thank you to all manufacturers, educators and community organizations working to improve the image of manufacturing and engage students in the industry. We could not have accomplished this success without you!

 

NAM Leads Industry Effort Calling on Congress to Fix Immigration System and Protect DACA Recipients

By | General, Immigration, immigration reform, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The administration announced in early September that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be rescinded and called on Congress to act in order to address the issue. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) agreed then that Congress needed to fix our broken immigration system and must work to find a solution for the more than 750,000 immigrants protected under DACA.

Today, the NAM continued our leadership efforts by spearheading a joint letter to Capitol Hill urging Congress to assure DACA recipients that their future is safe in this country. The signatories of the letter included more than 30 organizations from a diverse cross-section of the manufacturing industry from around the country.

Since the announcement in September, DACA recipients, also known as DREAMers, have been living with a magnitude of uncertainty. These individuals were brought to the United States as minors through no fault of their own, and some currently are contributing to the success of the manufacturing sector. In many cases, they know no other country other than this one.

The last major immigration reform effort to come out of Washington happened in 1986. Despite the many calls for action since then to update our system, lawmakers have not delivered. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons has called on Congress to “step up” and provide a solution for these DREAMers, and it is clear from the joint letter sent today the rest of the business community agrees.

Manufacturers have reason to be optimistic Congress will deliver to DACA recipients with many solutions already being discussed on Capitol Hill. The NAM will continue to work with lawmakers to find a solution that fixes the immigration system for these young people, manufacturers and our economy.

The letter to Congress is below and can be found here:

November 13, 2017

U.S. Senate                                                                                          U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510                                                                      Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senators and Representatives:

The immigration system is broken. For too long, the business community has called on Congress and various administrations to lead an overhaul of the immigration system. While earnest efforts have been made, nothing has changed. The last major reform of the immigration system took place in 1986.

Recipients participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should not have to live in fear of deportation. Congress needs to send a strong signal to this segment of the immigrant community that we welcome their talents, contributions of hard work, desire for education and if serving, support their willingness to wear the uniform of the armed forces.

Manufacturers call on Congress to assure DACA recipients that their future is safe. Pass legislation well before the administration’s March deadline. We all stand by efforts that improve our immigration system and enhance border security. Moreover, these young people deserve dignity and long-term certainty, including an achievable pathway to legal status.

Sincerely,

Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute

Aluminum Association

American Wire Producers Association

AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology

Association of Pool and Spa Professionals

Association of Washington Business

Global Cold Chain Alliance

Greater North Dakota Chamber

INDA, The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry

International Fragrance Association North America

International Housewares Association

Leading Builders of America

Michigan Manufacturers Association

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Missouri Association of Manufacturers

National Association of Manufacturers

National Marine Manufacturers Association

NC Chamber

Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Nevada Manufacturers Assn

New Jersey Business & Industry Association

New Mexico Business Coalition

Ohio Manufacturers’ Association

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute

Resilient Floor Covering Institute

SNAC International

Texas Association of Business

The Toy Association

Vinyl Siding Institute

 

Congress to Address Health Care Taxes After Tax Reform

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As the Ways and Means Committee finished the work of amending the House tax reform bill, Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) stated that efforts are already underway to begin consideration of legislation to address key Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes that are set to go into effect in 2018. This includes both the job-killing medical device tax and health insurance tax (HIT). In a statement, Chairman Brady promised, “We will move to these important health policies separately and immediately after conclusion of our tax reform efforts.” To read the full statement, click here. Read More

The Bright Future for Veterans

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

By David Johnston, manufacturing manager metal supply at Arconic

Every day, thousands of veterans retire from the military, struggling to match their passion with their next career move. Many don’t fully recognize that the skills they’ve honed, the experiences they’ve had and the values they’ve lived during their service are those that can translate extremely well to manufacturing careers. Smart hiring managers are the ones that commit time and resources to hiring and advancing veterans in the workplace because they recognize the unique assets we veterans offer.

While we know firsthand what our military brothers and sisters are capable of and how valuable their insights are, helping America’s military veterans transition into manufacturing is easier said than done. By working together throughout the manufacturing supply chain to develop a strong network of veteran ambassadors who can lead the charge, we can make a compelling case that attracts the best and brightest veteran talent to a wide range of manufacturing jobs.

As veteran ambassadors, we each play a critical role that positively impacts the lives of other veterans. Today, The Manufacturing Institute and Arconic Foundation released a video that highlights the value veterans bring to the manufacturing workforce and encourages veterans to explore the career options available in manufacturing. The video shows a real, tangible example of Arconic’s veterans resource group at work, helping our employees adjust to civilian life, and ultimately, finding a home at Arconic.

At Arconic, we are committed to helping veterans prepare for success in their civilian careers; we are present across the United States at military recruiting fairs and transitioning summits; we direct support to military spouses; make available community volunteering opportunities that extend veterans’ service into their communities; and engage newly hired vets in special onboarding experiences. Our aim is to make the best possible use of their skills and create an environment of inclusivity. The company supports an employee resource group (ERG) for veterans and non-veteran allies at our locations around the world. In military terms, the veterans ERG is a “force multiplier” for Arconic.

Leadership. Team deployment. Project management. Supply chain expertise. Technical and engineering skills. Loyalty. Goal orientation. These are just some of the skills that are unique to veterans and highly valuable in today’s advanced manufacturing environment. With the right support and knowledge of what veterans bring to the table, American manufacturing stands to gain so much from these individuals in their post-military careers.

Boots Are Boots

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

By Diane Wilhelm, chief engineer advanced manufacturing, Harley-Davidson Motor Company 

As a West Point grad in the early years of integrating women and serving in the U.S. Army for 12 years, I often reflect on my military roots and the foundation that the military has provided me for success in my manufacturing career. My transition from Army boots to steel-toe boots was not without challenges.

As young Lieutenant in the 1st Cavalry Division, I was elated to have the opportunity for my platoon to support one of the combat brigades in an upcoming FTX (Field Training Exercise). I reported to the prep meeting and realized that I was the only female in the room. Halfway through the meeting, the colonel noticed me, stopped the meeting and asked why I was there. I responded, “I am your military police support, sir.” He shook his head negatively. Everyone in the room stared at me, but I stayed, and they continued the meeting.

Afterward, I waited until most had left and approached the colonel. I told him that I had the best platoon in the company and that we would not fail him. I told him that if he didn’t agree that I and my platoon were the best, I’d never again set foot in his area. I asked for him to give me a shot, unless he was concerned about a female making other men look bad. He stared at me for a long time before answering, “Lieutenant, you’re in.” From that moment on, my platoon shined and he asked for me by name.

For women in nontraditional career fields, I sum this up into one mantra: “show no fear!”

As a new maintenance engineer/supervisor for a major automotive company, I noticed a large, colored paper sticking out from underneath a stack of newspapers when I entered the pipefitter’s break area. Making small talk, I purposely picked up the newspaper exposing the large paper that had 30 blocks drawn on it, almost all of them colored in with red or blue; some had both. The men fell silent. I picked up the colored paper and asked, “What is this?” After a lengthy pause, the millwright replied, “It’s a pool.” “About what?” I probed. The men started to squirm. The same millwright answered, “It’s a pool about you. Blue indicates when you will cry, and red is when you will quit.” I was stunned! The tradesmen all stared at me. I looked back at the paper and realized that my peer supervisors had bought blocks, too.

I had a choice. I took out my wallet and said, “How much to get in?” He answered “5 bucks.” I gave him 10 and told him to mark me down for NEVER on both! I won, of course, and donated the money to the department holiday meal fund.

You cannot always choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your attitude. #ShowNoFear #BootsAreBoots