Like many people I do my best to try to buy American made products. Sometimes it is difficult to do. Even the replacement parts for my American made Chevy were made in China. So like I said, I try. I would also hope that our Government follows these same ideals. This is not entirely the case though. President Obama has tried to force more local jobs in Federally funded projects by requiring Project Labor Agreements. These PLAs help by hiring local workers and use American made products. Take for example a bridge reconstruction project. These PLAs would be required to use American made steel. Sadly this is not the case when it comes to state and local projects.
A short while back the State of California wanted to rebuild the Bay Bridge between Oakland and San Francisco. The problem is that the Bay Bridge construction project is using Chinese steel. ABC News did this story on the Bay Bridge Steel.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing’s ‘Should Be Made In America‘ website explains the problem:
The new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and dozens of other major infrastructure projects nationwide are being built with foreign steel and manufactured materials.
Scott Paul, AAM’s Executive Director explains:
That the U.S. needs to repair trillions of dollars in crumbling infrastructure over the next decade, including nearly $500 billion worth in California alone.
These are your taxes going to some other country for products that could have been made here. Just imagine the boost to the economy if $500 Billion dollars were invested in California. That money would help hire hundreds of workers. It would also help the economy nation wide by using steel from the mills throughout the U.S. The Bay Bridge project has also faced extreme criticism and delays. Once again Scott Paul, AAM’s Executive Director explains:
“The problems with the Bay Bridge project could have been avoided if California officials had made it in America. Instead, the project is costing American jobs, undermining California’s environmental goals, and facing numerous delays.”
Many people have asked “Why is President Obama and the taxpayers stimulus money going to Chinese companies?”. This drew so much attention that FactCheck.Org even responded to these claims. There is a s simple answer. He did not. The State of California rejected the Federal Money. By rejecting the Federal money the bridge repair would not be mandated to use a Project Labor Agreement or required to use American workers or products.
This is also bad for the taxpayers in California. The Federal Government offered to pay for a majority of the Bay Bridge construction with stimulus money. However the State of California declined to use that money. Hundreds of millions of dollars the Federal Government set aside specifically for road repairs. Instead the people of California paid for the entire project. What about all the other projects that could have been done with California tax dollars if they would have used the Federal money to repair the Bay Bridge. Instead the people of California had their state taxes raised to cover the cost of a project that their Federal taxes would have paid for.
The problems continue in other states. In Michigan, they are working on plans to reconstruct the Detroit River Bridge. Again they are planning to use Chinese made steel in the construction claiming a lack of American made steel available. The AAM responded by saying:
“We are confident that U.S. and Canadian officials will do the right thing, and we will be watching as this project unfolds to continue to stress the importance of using quality, reliable steel from American and Canadian mills.”
Now we need to press the NH Legislature to ensure that the Memorial Bridge construction project is done with local NH workers and American made steel. At the end of last year, Iron workers from New Hampshire were trying to bring attention to the outsourcing on the Memorial Bridge Project. They even posted this video, to help raise awareness. Right now the NH Iron Workers are in talks with Archer Western (the project contract winner). So far Archer Western has agreed to hire a union subcontractor to install the rebar for the project. They are also still in negotiations over the where structure’s steel will come from.
Be sure to keep watching the NH Labor News for updates on the Memorial Bridge project and our efforts to ensure local projects are done by local workers using American products.
Who is the AAM?
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (The AAM), a labor-business partnership that is committed to rebuilding our nation and strengthening our manufacturing base. It’s time to make your voice heard. Tell your leaders that you want your tax dollars to rebuild our nation, putting men and women to work here in America. The blueprint for the future should be Made in America.
“Our (the AAM Should Be Made In America) campaign is designed to spark changes in federal, state, and local procurement policies. We are engaging the American public with real and practical ideas about how taxpayer money should be spent on rebuilding our nation,” said Scott Paul, AAM’s Executive Director.