This morning the NAM and the Global Business Dialogue hosted a discussion about the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations underway at the World Trade Organization (WTO). NAM’s Linda Dempsey, Vice President for International Economic Affairs, spoke about the benefits to manufacturing of a broad EGA, mentioning that, “increased trade and global engagement is vital for our manufacturers. With only a 9 percent share of the global $11 trillion market in manufactured goods trade outside our borders, manufacturers can and should be able to expand commercial opportunities.
Manufacturers lost a great leader. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson will be missed greatly by manufacturers, his fellow NAM Board Members and many more across the country.
David left us after a life not long enough, but long enough for joy and love and laughter and good times – and long enough to leave a lasting footprint on the business community, his state and his country.
He inspired all of us and will be remembered by the countless individuals whose lives he made better. David always had colorful stories to tell, laughs to laugh, words to write, legislators to buttonhole, lobbies to walk and battles to fight. He passionately led the business community in Minnesota for decades with great optimism and strong faith. As a champion for economic growth, he provided pragmatic solutions that transcended party politics.
What most of us remember best is not specifically what David did or said, but how he did it – as a unique, wonderful, patriotic and highly intelligent human being. He connected with each of us in some unusual way to get a job done. Through his words and actions, he made us proud and proud to know him.
He was the epitome of hardworking Minnesotan values and a leader among his peers. I was fortunate enough to count him as my friend.
In an industry that seems to grow more homogenized every day, David had very much his own voice. His lifetime of dedication serves as a monument to the exemplary man he was. His integrity and hard work will encourage those who knew him and will continue to benefit those who make Minnesota their home for years to come. Among the best things David has left behind is his shining example.
The House won’t vote on comprehensive immigration reform this year—that’s the recent word from Speaker Boehner. Manufacturers are disappointed. With each day that passes, Congress misses an opportunity to take an important step forward for our economy and country.
Immigration reform is a priority for manufacturers. With some 80 percent of employers reporting a shortage of skilled workers, reform can provide a bridge so employers can begin to close the skills gap as we simultaneously undertake efforts to improve education and training efforts. And, in addition to the practical considerations, immigration reform is simply the right thing to do.
Of course, while manufacturers are frustrated by the inaction on reform, we’re not giving up. It’s not a matter of if immigration reform will happen; it’s a matter of when. Our country is better than our current, broken immigration system. That’s why manufacturers are committed to advancing immigration reform done right—a comprehensive solution that includes a pathway to citizenship and ensure that those who seek it aren’t denied the American Dream.
Individual cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rarely get noticed by anyone other than labor or employment lawyers, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth watching. These decisions have broad implications for all employers, not just the one involved directly in the case.
Recently, an NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a decision that, if allowed to stand, would have significant implications for manufacturers and their intellectual property. The judge concluded that Boeing’s prohibition of cameras—a policy that has been in place for 35 years—constitutes an unfair labor practice because Boeing has no credible business need to protect its manufacturing process. Of course, as technology has developed, the rule has captured additional devices, and today smartphones fall under the ban.
Boeing has good reason to be cautious about allowing unfettered photographic access to its shop floor. For one, its competitors and some foreign governments would love to get their hands on Boeing’s proprietary information. The ALJ would make that easy for corporate spies—just go to an employee’s Facebook page and study photos from inside Boeing. In addition, many of Boeing’s products are subject to strict export controls. Making photos of these products or processes public could violate federal law.
The NLRB’s decision puts Boeing in a tough spot, creating a problem where none existed. And, besides, NLRB lawyers shouldn’t be in the business of creating new rights for employees in the first place.
Because of the dangerous precedent this case could set for future disputes before the NLRB, the NAM filed a brief highlighting this overreach and the impact it would have on businesses, particularly manufacturers. For more information about the case, click here.
Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, appeared the Economic Club of Washington, DC, on June 17 to talk about the key ingredients for economic growth in the United States.
In a wide-ranging policy discussion, the head of the telecommunications giant honed in issues like immigration reform and tax reform as opportunities to drive and attract investment. Stephenson also highlighted the need for strong trade policies and the importance of free trade agreements. Currently, the United States’ ability to negotiate new agreements and complete pending ones is hindered by the lack of Trade Promotion Authority, which helps streamline the negotiation process.
Stephenson’s remarks send a powerful message from the business community about the necessity of engaging with Washington. Policymakers, whether on Capitol Hill or in the executive branch, need to hear from America’s job creators—because like it or not, what happens in Washington matters to businesses. We need to be at the table for these important discussions.
A big debate on energy exports is playing out in the Pacific Northwest. Passions are running high on both sides, no doubt fueled in part by meticulously brewed cups of java.
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons recently waded into the debate. In remarks to business community leaders in Portland and later in Seattle, he made a strong case in support of building the infrastructure necessary to move goods and commodities, such as coal and natural gas, to markets abroad. He said:
Building, modernizing and expanding export terminals makes sense. In a still sluggish economy, expansion will create over 10,000 jobs in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the entire manufacturing economy in America. Expansion means more private investment in export infrastructure—not just for commodities like coal and liquefied natural gas—but for agriculture and manufactured products. It’s a winning proposition.
Currently, plans to modernize export terminals in Washington and Oregon are effectively on hold. Approval of these projects takes the consent of seemingly every level of government, giving opponents plenty of opportunities to stall. All the while, the Pacific Northwest is missing out on the increased economic activity the export terminals would make possible.
The debate over energy exports isn’t isolated to the Pacific Northwest. Similar debates are taking place across the country, particularly on the issue of natural gas exports. The United States has abundant supplies of natural gas, which are now being developed thanks to advancements in hydraulic fracturing. By exporting energy, whether coal or natural gas, the United States can enhance its global economic leadership, boost economic growth and create high-wage jobs.
“Other growing global economies need energy,” Timmons remarked during his trip to the Pacific Northwest. “Why shouldn’t it be from America?”
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons warned of the assault on the business community’s right to advocate its priorities in his Member Focus column. A right guaranteed to all political actors by the First Amendment regardless of their point of view.
Last Friday Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a speech to the American Enterprise Institute about the growing threats against the First Amendment. He warned specifically about government agencies’ attempts to prevent speech, “Right now, there’s an effort over at the FCC to get groups that buy campaign ads to disclose their supporters. This is utterly irrelevant to the mission of the FCC. We need to say so. The SEC is under pressure right now to force publicly-traded companies into disclosing all their political spending, even though it has no core interest in knowing what political causes companies support. This proposal doesn’t protect shareholders, and it doesn’t lead to better corporate governance.”
As Senator McConnell urged in his speech, we must continue to fight against and call out attacks on the First Amendment regardless of the target. Our nation is the strongest when all voices can be heard in the political process and none are singled out or discouraged.
The NAM will continue to work to protect the First Amendment rights of manufacturers and their ability to participate in the political process. Manufacturers have the right to weigh in and voice their concerns about policies impacting their businesses and their ability to create jobs. Continued efforts in Congress to weaken First Amendment protections will only hurt our democracy.
Congratulations and happy birthday is in order for Bayer. This week the company is celebrating 150 years of science for a better life. The company was founded in 1863 and ever since the company has been innovating and finding ways to manufacture products to make the lives of people, animals and even plants healthier.
Bayer is now a global company with more than 110,000 employees. Modern manufacturing is full of stories just like that of Bayer. Manufacturers are the drivers of innovation throughout the globe. These innovations include agriculture products, vehicles and earth moving equipment to high tech computers and pharmaceutical products to heal the sick.
To celebrate this anniversary Bayer has planned activities worldwide throughout the rest of 2013. These events will focus on the company’s employees and their families and the communities the company serves.
As the manufacturing army descended upon Washington this week for the 2013 NAM Manufacturing Summit, one of the key issues discussed with policymakers is the need to improve America’s infrastructure. Additional investment in our nation’s infrastructure, in particular our communications and broadband infrastructure is necessary.
A modern and advanced infrastructure will help drive our nation’s innovation and economy forward, especially when it comes to manufacturing.
“Manufacturing is driving technology, and technology and innovation drive manufacturing,” said NAM Technology Policy Subcommittee Chair and Verizon Vice President of Entertainment and Tech Policy Eric Fitzgerald Reed. “Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and the Internet of Things are increasingly relevant and important components of manufacturers’ operations, including global supply chains. The manufacturing community is bringing all aspects of the Internet ecosystem together from different sectors of the economy to ensure robust broadband infrastructure is in place so businesses can thrive and grow.”
Verizon has launched two innovation centers located in San Francisco, CA and Waltham, MA to help spur innovation, build collaborative partnerships with other NAM member companies and create cutting-edge technology solutions.
It’s important that members of Congress understand that everyone from manufacturers to policymakers, need to work together if we are going to build the infrastructure systems that allow manufacturers to compete and create jobs.
Over 500 manufacturers took to the Hill on Wednesday, and at the tip of the spear of our manufacturing army was Greg Folley, Vice President of Remanufacturing & Components Division for Caterpillar, Inc.
Four key issues – tax reform, comprehensive immigration reform, energy policy, and infrastructure – that are important to manufacturers, including Caterpillar, took center stage during Greg’s advocacy meetings with several members and staffs representing five states. With Reps. Roskam (IL), Moore-Capito (WV), Guthrie (KY), Smith (NE), and Flores (TX), we found significant areas of agreement, and we certainly got the sense they support the ideas manufacturers have put forth – good news for sure. And that’s why manufacturers took to the Hill for the NAM’s Annual Summit – we’re here to help them get the ball across the goal line.
Each of the candid conversations offered a great deal of back and forth. Greg took the lead in mapping out exactly what manufacturers need and why they need it. As he said, the current tax system is fundamentally uncompetitive and incentivizes companies to shelter in place rather than taking the necessary steps to grow and seek new markets. Lowering the corporate rate and implementing a territorial tax system will allow manufacturers to take off the handcuffs and compete successfully in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. If this happens, we’ll soon see a boom in job creation.
Yet that brings up a second key point – access to the skilled workforce needed to fill those jobs. In leading his meetings, Greg hit the nail on the head, saying that our current immigration system is the equivalent of hanging a “Not Welcome” sign in the window where it should read “Now Hiring.” Essentially the United States is pushing opportunity away, and for manufacturers like Caterpillar, that innovation is not only critical to current success, but also in developing the next generation of technology that will drive growth in the future.
Greg’s visit found a lot of reason to be hopeful for positive policy solutions – but it was abundantly clear that in Washington’s current environment, there remains a lot of work to do. Leadership such as that of Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. and Chairman of NAM Board of Directors, Greg Folley, and other manufacturers like Caterpillar is absolutely essential to driving policies that will allow our economy to flourish. And the NAM will consistently be at the door to ensure lawmakers know exactly what they need to do.