Creators Wanted: BASF Testifies on Upskilling America Following Key White House Workforce Announcements

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Last week, I joined President Donald Trump and many of our nation’s workforce leaders as he signed an executive order on a new national workforce strategy. That’s something the National Association of Manufacturers had been urging our country to undertake, particularly the emphasis on apprenticeships and training, to prepare more Americans for the technology-intensive modern manufacturing jobs, some 441,000 of which are currently unfilled. It is a bold, smart and necessary action, at a critical time. And again today, President Trump is continuing the drumbeat at an event in Iowa, speaking with manufacturers and placing a needed spotlight on workforce development.

Think about this: If we don’t change minds about manufacturing and upskill our nation’s workforce, we’re looking at an employee shortage that, according to The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, could be as high as 2 million by 2025.

So today, the urgency to act and do it right took center stage before a Senate committee addressing apprenticeships and future workforce needs, as Glenn Johnson, workforce development leader at BASF Corporation, provided not only his company’s but his own personal perspective.

In the United States, BASF has more than 15,000 employees across 148 locations, of which 74 are production sites and 18 are research and development facilities. BASF is a leader in building the workforce of the future and encouraging STEM careers. Since 2010, more than 410,000 schoolchildren have participated in BASF’s science education programs. And the company is moving aggressively with “Sequence Apprenticeships” and enterprise-wide programs to support future workers.

As Johnson told the committee, he was living in a trailer park with only a high school diploma 22 years ago, when he started his first manufacturing job. He ran assembly lines and stacked cases of product, eventually progressing to leadership roles and taking advantage of a tuition reimbursement program and training and education to climb up the professional ladder. His is a story of how manufacturing and training can change lives for the better.

And his testimony offers a message of how we can do more of that for more Americans. Click here to read the full text of Johnson’s testimony.

President Trump called on the business community to join his effort—to upskill America. Fortunately, our country has manufacturers like BASF already stepping up to help lead, and organizations like The Manufacturing Institute are dedicated to helping manufacturers attract, train and retain the future workforce.

In Bogota, Brasilia and Buenos Aires: Innovation and Intellectual Property Matters

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Manufacturers in the United States are the world’s leaders in invention and discovery, resulting in not just millions of jobs here at home but also the improvement of lives all around the world. But not every creative spark that helps humanity happens in our borders, and not every idea that benefits U.S. manufacturing or the American people starts on our shores.

Americans rely on innovation from wherever it springs. From health care to environmental technologies, from autonomous vehicles to the latest in information technology, innovation and intellectual property (IP) give rise to products and technologies that enhance everyone’s economic future and quality of life, while giving consumers access to the best choices for what they need. And for manufacturers in the United States specifically, innovation to create these products and technologies is our lifeblood.

That is why it is baffling that many governments around the world have taken shortsighted approaches to IP by implementing policies that undermine IP rights or impose unnecessary regulation. As opposed to pro-growth policies that ensure strong IP protections and remove trade barriers to innovative products, governments are adopting approaches that not only harm manufacturers, large and small, in the United States, but also cripple domestic innovators in these markets by hampering their ability and incentives to innovate.

Latin America is a growing hot spot for these protectionist policies, with a growing number of domestic policies intended to promote compulsory licensing, to narrow the ability of inventors to receive patents and expand regulations that undermine critical research and development and seize confidential business information. These efforts have been seen across the region, in countries from Colombia to Chile, from Brazil to El Salvador, from Argentina to Peru. And these anti-innovation policies are having an impact on their economies. It is no coincidence that this year’s Global Innovation Index shows Latin America as lagging many other regions in innovation, and that its rankings relative to other regions have not improved, nor that its top-performing country (Costa Rica in 2013; Chile in 2018) has fallen by eight places over the past five years.

Such approaches not only rob Latin America of critical access to high-value products and technologies, but they also hurt us all and squander an important opportunity to promote entrepreneurship and growth in manufacturing.

As a community of manufacturers and innovators, who seek more competition—not less—for new ideas and new discoveries, we’re urging Latin American governments to rethink their shortsighted approaches and strengthen the environment for innovation and protection of IP. Their people and their economies depend on it, and the world would be better for it.

NAM Joins Business Groups to Petition NLRB on Joint-Employer Rulemaking

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On June 5, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chairman John Ring announced that the NLRB will conduct notice-and-comment rulemaking to define a workable joint-employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act.

Prior to 2015, an entity would be determined a joint employer of another entity’s employees, and thus liable for labor law violations, only if they exercised “direct control” over the employees. This was a clear and dependable test. However, in 2015, the NLRB upended 30 years of labor law, in Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), redefining joint-employer status on a case-by-case basis to determine whether an entity has the potential to or does exercise indirect control over the conditions and terms of employment of another company’s employees.

Today, manufacturers who exercise little to no control over a subcontractor’s employees are exposed to unmeasurable risk. The result of BFI has exponential effects as many manufacturers often contract with more than one company to perform various services (e.g., on-site cleaning, maintenance or food services). Employers have struggled to apply the Board’s BFI decision to predict their responsibilities and liabilities with regard to these services’ employees, outside of their control, all because of one bad decision from the NLRB.

Since BFI, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has worked tirelessly to make the case for a more workable standard, both in the courts and Congress. This week, the NAM joined a group of other industry associations in filing a petition for rulemaking with the NLRB.

The NAM applauds the NLRB for taking this step, and we will continue to fight for a workable, dependable and stable joint standard for the manufacturing industry throughout the rulemaking process.

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