Posts Tagged ‘american manufacturing jobs

30
Mar
16

Keen Increases Its Commitment to American Manufacturing | Footwear News

In recent years, Keen has boosted footwear production and doubled the size of the workforce at its Portland, Ore., factory.

Source: Keen Increases Its Commitment to American Manufacturing | Footwear News

Keen Expands Commitment to American Manufacturing

Keen Portland Factory

Inside Keen’s Portland footwear factory. Courtesy of brand.

The made-in-America movement is making progress, thanks to Portland, Ore.-based Keen.

Since launching its U.S. assembly plant in 2010, the company has been steadily expanding operations at the factory, located on Portland’s Swan Island.

And in the past couple of years, it has revved up growth in a serious way. Since 2014, its has doubled the size of the workforce at its factory, now employing more than 60 people. Production has increased 20 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The Swan Island factory currently produces 15 different SKUs from Keen’s American Built collection. Among those items are high-end outdoor hiking shoes and Utility work boots. In addition, the team recently began making its first volume sandal, the Rialto.

Keen Portland Factory
Keen Portland Factory
Inside Keen’s Portland Footwear Factory. Courtesy of brand.

Chris Heffernan, GM of the Keen Utility division, said that U.S. production offers a strategic advantage for the brand. “We are able to respond much more quickly to demand, maintain tighter control over product quality, and develop new product concepts on a significantly reduced lead time,” he said.

And Keen’s made-in-America collection also resonates with consumers. “Our consumers prefer American Built products and support companies who are bringing production and jobs back to American soil,” said Heffernan. “This is clear to us given the response and sales we’re seeing behind our Mt. Vernon, Braddock and Leavenworth workboots.”

As a result, Keen plans to continue to grow its domestic production. In 2017 alone, it intends to add another eight to 10 Utility styles.

Keen Portland Factory
Keen Portland Factory
Inside Keen’s Portland Footwear Factory. Courtesy of brand.

Helping to lead the charge is Claire Juttelstad, the new director of manufacturing. She joined the company in January after previous stints at Benchmark Knife Co. and Lacrosse Footwear.

Juttelstad oversees all operations at the Portland factory, including engineering, quality, production, cost and inventory.

“I am committed to manufacturing the finest-quality American Built work and hiking products right here at our production facility in Portland,” she said. “As a company, we are committed to significantly growing our production for 2017 and the future.”

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23
Mar
16

Yes Donald, You Can Make Suits in America | Alliance for American Manufacturing

Yes Donald, You Can Make Suits in America

Yes Donald, You Can Make Suits in America | Alliance for American Manufacturing

Joseph Abboud worked with six other Made in America designers to "put together an epic collection" during New York Fashion Week. | Photo via Joseph Abboud on Instagram

Joseph Abboud worked with six other Made in America designers to “put together an epic collection” during New York Fashion Week. | Photo via Joseph Abboud on Instagram

Trump says he doesn’t make his suits here because it’s “very hard.” Here’s proof he’s wrong.

One of the prevailing storylines of the 2016 presidential election has been Donald Trump’s rather combative stance toward companies that offshore their production.

The Donald has threatened Apple. And Ford. And Nabisco. Once he’s president, Trump promises that he will force these companies to bring their production back to American shores.

Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, we’d love to see companies like these bring their factories back to the United States. But let’s be real: Trump is a huge hypocrite.

His own line of suits and ties are made outside the United States in places like China and Mexico. Trump’s daughter Ivanka also outsources production of her popular fashion line, which includes shoes, dresses, and handbags. Trump owns up to this, saying that it’s “very, very hard to have anything in apparel made in this country.

But if Trump really wanted to manufacture his clothing line in America, he could. Below are just a handful of the (very successful!) suit and tie makers who make their products in the United States.

Joseph Abboud

The popular suits — sold at the Men’s Wearhouse chain — are made in the designer’s home state of Massachusetts. Abboud takes pride in keeping it Made in America, and even gave Gov. Charlie Baker a tour of his factory this week.

“The workforce is a highly skilled workforce,” Abboud told the Boston Globe. “When you have 700 to 800 people in your factory, they aren’t individual people, they’re families… I always say it’s great to be made in America, but our distinction is that we’re made well in America.”

Brooks Brothers

Every retail tie produced by the classic chain has at least some of it made by hand in Long Island City, just 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. Some of the chain’s clothing and accessories also are made in the United States, including suits, jeans, loafers, and cuff links.

Hardwick

Founded in 1880 in Tennessee, Hardwick bills itself as “America’s Oldest Tailor Made Clothing Company.” The company’s Italian Super 150’s Navy Blazer was named a 2015 Made in the South Awards winner by Garden and Gun magazine.

Read Wall

Launched in Washington’s preppy Georgetown neighborhood, Read Wall calls itself a purveyor of “great, American tailored clothing.” Suits are made to order, and the company also prides itself on sourcing fabric from American mills whenever possible.

Hart Schaffner Marx

While Read Wall began just a few years ago, Hart Schaffner Marx traces its roots way back to 1887, when immigrant brothers Harry and Max Hart opened up a men’s store in downtown Chicago. The brand continues to thrive, as its American-made men’s suits are available at retailers such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Hickey Freeman

Dillards and Nordstrom are among the retailers that sell suits from this New York company, whose motto is “Keep the Quality Up.” Since 1899, the retailer has made its suits in a factory in Rochester dubbed “The Temple.”

Ratio Clothing

Looking for an American-made dress or tuxedo shirt? Eric Powell founded Ratio in 2009 because he couldn’t find a quality shirt that fit well. Ratio manufactures all of its custom-made shirts in the United States, and has been featured in men’s style magazines like Esquire and Details.

Todd Shelton

Like Ratio, this New Jersey-based menswear brand is dedicated to manufacturing dress shirts that fit well. The company also offers jeans, pants and T-shirts, all of which is made at the company’s factory in East Rutherford.

This article is from The Alliance for American Manufacturing website.

18
Mar
16

Abboud Factory A ‘Model’ For Other Companies

Bringing American manufacturing jobs back to the United States is a key issue in the presidential race. Clothing designer Joseph Abboud is an expert.

Source: Abboud Factory A ‘Model’ For Other Companies « CBS Boston

Abboud Factory: A Model For Other Companies

NEW BEDFORD (CBS) – Bringing American manufacturing jobs back to the United States is a key issue in the presidential race. Clothing designer Joseph Abboud is an expert.

Since 1987, he’s manufactured high-quality men’s suits and sport coats at a factory in New Bedford. He calls the facility the foundation of his brand. “First, we’re really proud we’re made in America. But the real distinction is making it well in America….This isn’t just flag-waving. It’s really special.”

He wishes every presidential candidate could tour the factory.

“I would say they have to come visit places like this to see what the American worker does and how proud they are. Bring more jobs back to America…I think that’s what the focus should be.”

Abboud insists it is not more expensive to make his men’s suits and sport coats in the U.S. He calls that a myth—explaining that the clothing goes straight from the factory to the customer. “We don’t have the middle with a wholesale-retail margin,” he says.

Mass. Governor Charlie Baker tours Joseph Abboud factory in New Bedford (WBZ-TV)

Mass. Governor Charlie Baker tours Joseph Abboud factory in New Bedford (WBZ-TV)

High-quality Italian fabrics arrive at the factory where they are cut, assembled, stitched and sewn. There are 203 different steps per suit. New technology and machinery ensure consistency. But it’s the workers who run those machines, build the clothing and produce 300,000 suits per year.

For Abboud, a Roslindale native, employing so many people in Massachusetts is a special point of pride. Many of them stay for decades.

Abboud was eager to introduce Governor Charlie Baker to some of those workers during the Governor’s first visit to Abboud’s factory. The Governor, clearly impressed, pointed to manufacturing positions—which often get far less attention than technology jobs—as those that make it possible to “…buy a home, raise a family, build a life. I think we should focus on more of that.”

Now that the Governor’s visited the factory, we asked Abboud whether he would extend an open invitation to the men and women running for President. “I would love for them to come! We’ll make them a suit. And it will be made in America!”

Perhaps, Abboud says, by a new employee. He is looking to hire 40 more workers immediately.

Thanks to Alliance for American Manufacturing for highlighting this article.
30
Jan
16

What’s Our Duty to the People Globalization Leaves Behind?

What’s Our Duty to the People Globalization Leaves Behind?

by Steven Rattner on January 26, 2016 in The New York Times

The title is interesting, isn’t it? When you mention the word “globalization”, your mind immediately says, “Oh, Oh, this is about economics, this must be a story written by an economist.” But then the title talks of a duty to people who have been left behind. This is never, ever, a subject of modern day economics. Economists think only about money, not about the “true costs.”

This story is about a writer who goes and visits a Free Trade Think Tank (yes they do exist). Click the link below to see the whole article and a couple of the graphs that I could not reproduce.

Thanks to The Alliance of American manufacturing for pointing out this article. For the bullet points see the end of the article.

Source: What’s Our Duty to the People Globalization Leaves Behind? – The New York Times

 Workers at a Kia factory in Pesqueria, Mexico. Credit Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

Workers at a Kia factory in Pesqueria, Mexico. Credit Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

A FEW days ago, I visited the shiny headquarters of the Peterson Institute for International Economics on “think tank row” in Washington — basically, the locker room of the Team Globalization and Free Trade cheering squad.

I was there to take part in a discussion of an old friend’s outstanding book on the subject, Steven R. Weisman’s “The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization.”

After praising Steve’s book, I emphasized that I had paid attention in economics class and understood that globalization incontrovertibly has benefited not only the world but also the United States. That’s in part because trade permits Americans to buy goods at lower prices; the added purchasing power helps our economy expand faster.

But I soon pivoted to my experience working in the Obama administration on the auto rescue, an experience that had seared into me the sense that intermingled among the many winners from globalization were a substantial number of losers.

So far, so good. Then I went rogue and uttered two blasphemous words: “Ross Perot.” He had a point, I said heretically, when he campaigned in 1992 against the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement, saying that it would result in a “giant sucking sound” of jobs headed south to Mexico.

A cool breeze drifted toward me.

As I looked out at my audience, I realized that the room was filled with winners — folks who, from all appearances, earned their livings from intellectual labor. Neither their jobs nor their wages were in jeopardy as countries ranging from Vietnam to Colombia became more competitive with us.

I pressed on.

Last year, according to the recent figures, our nation added 2.65 million new jobs. Just 30,000 of them were in manufacturing. So much for the widely trumpeted renaissance of Made in America.

At first glance, the automobile industry looks to be in better shape. From the depths of the crisis in 2009 through 2013, employment in the auto manufacturing sector in the United States rose by 23 percent, to 690,000 from 560,000.

That sounds pretty good, I said, except that employment in the Mexican auto sector rose to 589,000 from 368,000 during the same period, an increase of 60 percent. I’m happy that 221,000 more Mexicans got jobs, but let’s be honest: Absent open borders, many of those jobs would have been in America.

The wage picture looks even worse. Since January 2009, inflation-adjusted private sector wages across the economy have risen by 2.5 percent. In the fields of education, health and information, they are up by more than 3 percent. Meanwhile, in manufacturing, pay has fallen by 0.8 percent, and in the auto sector, by 12.7 percent.

“Last point,” I said to the 100 or so guests: Average manufacturing compensation costs (includes wages and benefits) in the United States in 2012 were $35.67 per hour; in Mexico, they were $6.36 per hour. “And American auto executives will tell you that the productivity they get in Mexico is at least as good as what they get in the United States.”

My central argument was not that we should close our borders or retreat from the world; it was that we need to be sensitive to the losers and try to help. The point — well illustrated in Steve’s book — is that globalization is not only an economic matter but also a moral one.

Presently, the institute’s blunt director, Adam Posen, used his final moments to shut me down, declaring that the “fetishization” of any industry was “immoral.” The problem of manufacturing is technology, he declared flatly.

Blaming technology is a common refrain from economists who hate the thought that globalization is not the world’s unambiguous salvation.

Sorry, Adam, I thought silently, having been afforded no time to respond. If technology were the source of manufacturing workers’ woes, productivity would be rising sharply, which it surely isn’t (notwithstanding claims by some economists that official statistics have been understating efficiency gains).

“Don’t blame the robots for lost manufacturing jobs,” read the headline in a blog post last spring by two scholars at the venerable Brookings Institution.

I have never forgotten a powerful article I read in Foreign Affairs in 2007 that called for huge tax redistribution, both as a moral matter and as a mechanism for ensuring political support for free trade. (The authors were hardly left-wing shills — one had served in the administration of President George W. Bush.)

That still sounds like the right idea to me.

It’s not only morally wrong to fail to help those on the losing end of globalization, but it will also end badly politically, as the ascendant candidacy of Donald J. Trump illustrates.

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Editor’s Comments

There are many economists who still believe that Globalization, Free Trade, minimal government intervention, and Trickledown economics-  the cornerstones of “Extreme Capitalism” – is still good for the USA. However more and more economists are abandoning this 40 year old economic theory after many years actual implementation, they have seen the error in their ways. Hallelujah!

  • Comparison of auto manufacturing jobs

USA  2009          2013                    % increase

560,000              630,000                23%

Mexico 2009     2013

368,000             589,000                60%

  • Number of new American manufacturing jobs for 2015 – 30,000 jobs (out of a total of 2.65 million new jobs in USA for 2015)
  • % decrease in pay – 0.8% in American manufacturing
  • % decrease in pay – 12.7% in American auto manufacturing

 

  • Economists never pay attention to the human costs of globalization.
  • Economists would like to blame technology instead of offshoring for the loss of American jobs.

 

Extreme Capitalism economists always downplay the impact of American job loss on American citizens – of course, they are economists – people are just numbers to them. However, these economists do not want to appear like they are callus and uncaring, that is why they hypocritically say that the loss of  American jobs is due to technology. Wrong! Those new 223,000 automobile manufacturing jobs in Mexico used to be American jobs, they were not lost to technology. All those millions of new jobs in  China, they were lost American jobs. Why do you think we have stubbornly low economic growth here in the USA?  Because we offshore millions of jobs each year more than we create. Think of the economy as a bucket – the fuller it gets – the better the pay of workers and more money going into the US economy, but since the Extreme Capitalism policies of the 1980s, we have a sieve instead of a bucket. There is finite number of jobs that can be created each year and if you distribute them all over the universe there is much less available for the USA.

We need to stop offshoring, we need to stop Free Market Treaties which eliminate import taxes and allows dumping of foreign products onto our shores putting US businesses at a disadvantage and putting many of them out of business. Buy American.

27
Dec
15

The “Manufacturing Reshoring Trend Has Subsided”

Offshoring is still beating reshoring — and reshoring is dropping off fast.

Source: The “Manufacturing Reshoring Trend Has Subsided” | Alliance for American Manufacturing

story by Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch, December 22, 2015 from Alliance for American Manufacturing

 

While some pundits predicted rising Chinese labor costs would bring manufacturing back to the United States, much of the work simply shifted to other Asian countries. Above, a worker in a garment factory in Vietnam. | Photo by ILO in Asia and the Pacific via Flickr Creative Commons

While some pundits predicted rising Chinese labor costs would bring manufacturing back to the United States, much of the work simply shifted to other Asian countries. Above, a worker in a garment factory in Vietnam. | Photo by ILO in Asia and the Pacific via Flickr Creative Commons

Offshoring is still beating reshoring — and reshoring is dropping off fast.

Just like the mullet, shoulder pads and parachute pants, it looks like that whole reshoring thing might be nearing its end — and in fact, it might not have actually ever even been a trend at all.

Global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney just released its annual U.S. Reshoring Index. The findings show that reshoring not only failed to keep pace with offshoring in 2015, it actually saw the largest one-year drop in 10 years.

Roughly 700 reshoring cases have been announced over the last five years, but only around 60 reshoring cases are expected for 2015. That’s a big drop from 2014, which saw 208 cases.

And while reshoring pundits have pointed to rising labor costs in China as a chief reason why companies will bring manufacturing operations back to the United States, many have just been moving their facilities to other Asian countries. A.T. Kearney reports:

“They have done so without incurring significantly higher supply chain costs, despite the weaker infrastructure and supporting ecosystems of these new low-labor-cost destinations. Vietnam has absorbed the lion’s share of China’s manufacturing outflow, especially in apparel. U.S. imports of manufactured goods from Vietnam in 2015 will be nearly triple the level of imports in 2010.”

A.T. Kearney’s findings are in line with other recent manufacturing sector developments. Manufacturing simply is in terrible shape. Hiring continues to flat line and factory production has stagnated.

Meanwhile, imports continue to hurt American manufacturing. The most recent trade figures show that the deficit with China alone in 2015 sits at $306 billion, compared to $285 billion at the same point in 2014.

It’s a far cry from what many reshoring advocates argued would happen just a few years ago, when they pointed to rising labor costs as one reason why manufacturers would move their operations back to the United States.

Rumors of China’s manufacturing death have been greatly exaggerated, A.T. Kearney notes, with researchers writing that Chinese manufacturers are evolving and “their growing capabilities will challenge their Western rivals in new ways.”

Other findings of note from the index:

  • Some of the sectors that led the reshoring effort in recent years also have shown the highest increase in offshoring, including the electronics, appliances, furniture and machinery industries.
  • Researchers predict that if ratified, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries “may weaken the business case for reshoring further.”
  • One trend on the rise? Nearshoring. Many companies are leaving Asia to move their operations to Mexico.

Although the researchers write that “it’s fair to say that reshoring as a ‘trend’ is officially dead,” they also argue that the “United States still tops the list of countries where companies from all over the globe want to invest in the coming years.”

It seems that while many U.S. companies aren’t interested in moving their manufacturing back home, many foreign countries see a lot of growth potential here.

Chinese companies in particular have invested heavily to create facilities on U.S. soil, spending about $46 billion since 2000 to build plants and create U.S. manufacturing jobs. Of the 60,000 new manufacturing jobs created due to reshoring in 2014, about 8,000 were at China-owned companies, according to A.T. Kearney.

And although the reshoring trend might appear to be going the way of the Trucker Hat, there is still a lot we can do to revive it. The United States needs a strong manufacturing strategy, one built on balancing trade, investing in our infrastructure, enhancing our workforce training programs and rebuilding our innovation base.

Editor’s Comments

We have seen some optimistic reports in the past couple of years that American manufacturing has been reshoring (bringing back jobs) from China due to the increased wages of Chinese workers and the inability to control quality. But, this has happened only in small spurts. In the meantime, offshoring has continued unabated. There are plenty of Chinese companies on hand ready to sweep away American manufacturing jobs.

Obviously there is a continued net loss of manufacturing year after year. And our government does not care. Of course, there is one party that always wants government to stay out of any business, even though they are responsible for the decimation of American manufacturing. I suspect their ultimate goal is no American manufacturing at all (and no regulations either). Chinese wages will continue to increase making it less profitable to offshore products, but as long as the Chinese can manipulate their monetary unit (The Yuan), they will continue to dominate. And once if costs in China gets too expensive, don’t expect these companies to come back to the United States, they will just find another country to exploit for the extremely poor work force. It is not a rosy future for American manufacturing. How long can America survive on service jobs that can also be easily offshored?

As the report states American business are not interested in bringing jobs back to the United States, but many foreign companies are interested in having factories built in America with American workers. Maybe that is the next boom. We will all be working for Chinese companies. So, who do should we be loyal to? The American based company that offshores all of its jobs or the foreign company that hires American workers? The answer may surprise you, but the one that feeds you, the one that hires American workers. Of course, number one is American company and American workers, but the form that hires American workers is number two.

Buy American-made, keep an American employed – maybe it is your neighbor’s job, maybe it is your own job that you are saving.

17
Sep
15

How Much of Your Car is US Made?

How Much of Your Car is US Made?

With the 2016 car-model coming soon, some people are seriously considering buying a new car. However, over and over, I see people confused as to what automobile they should buy if they believe in “Buy American” movement. I mean the old model of the 1970s is long gone. “American” companies are no longer American (they are multi-national). Chrysler is owned by an Italian company, Fiat. And Ford and GM manufacture many automobiles in countries like Mexico, Brazil and China, while companies like Toyota, Honda, Kia and Nissan make many models in the USA. So which model and what company? The following article by Brian Moody for The Huffington Post may help explain which choice is the best. And at the bottom of the article are a couple of links – Kogod School on Business Index which rates the amount of US made material in all models of recent automobiles, and there is bankrate.com which tells you which city and state your model of car was made.

Source: Is Buying American-made Important? | Brian Moody

At the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch introduction, Apple CEO Tim Cook said “made in America” is critically important. What do you think: Is it important to buy products that are “American-made?” It turns out that phrase isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Let’s think about it in terms of car shopping. When you’re shopping for a new car or certified used car, is it more important to buy from an American company or a company that manufacturers cars in the U.S. (even if that company is based overseas)?

According to a recent AutoTrader.com poll, nearly 60 percent of people surveyed consider a new car to be American-made only if it’s built in the U.S. by a U.S.-based company.

I think what’s most important is that the car you’re considering is actually built in the U.S., even if the automaker is based elsewhere. Here’s why.

Big Money

The bottom line: It’s all about money. Automakers who build their cars here in the U.S. spend lots of money in the communities where their factories are located.

As you might expect, American companies such as Ford and GM build many of their cars right here in the U.S. Ford builds 16 models in eight different factories within the U.S., and General Motors builds 26 models in 12 different factories around the country. Clearly, if you want the widest variety of American-made cars, you should probably be shopping at a Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet or GMC dealership.

Historically, Chrysler has been an American company, but it’s now owned by FIAT, an Italian company. If you really want your new car purchase to benefit American workers, should you leave Chrysler off your shopping list? No. The company continues to build many vehicles in the U.S. — 10 different models in all.

Not So Foreign

What about companies such as Honda, Nissan, Kia and Toyota? They’ve always been based overseas, but they build several models here in the U.S.

For example, most Nissan models come from Mississippi and Tennessee. U.S.-built vehicles include the Nissan Altima, Maxima, Quest and the 2015 Murano, as well as trucks including the Titan, Frontier and Xterra. At their Canton, Mississippi, plant alone, the company employs about 5,600 American workers. Nissan also invested more than $2.5 billion in the Canton factory.
The annual payroll for the Canton plant is around $200 million; that’s millions of dollars going into the economy of Mississippi, buying people food, clothes, cars, homes, TVs and home-improvement supplies. That same factory is also responsible for about $350,000 in charitable donations every year, and Nissan in general spends about $10 million per year for charities, need-based sponsorships and community relations through programs such as Nissan Neighbors and the Nissan Foundation.

Toyota has been building cars in Kentucky for more than 30 years and has contributed nearly $46 million to nonprofit organizations. BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and Volkswagen have a similar impact on local communities across the U.S.

Local Communities

Kia’s West Point, Georgia, plant dropped about $1 billion on the local economy when the automaker built the factory several years ago. That plant manufactures the Kia Optima and Kia Sorento. Kia recently gave the city of West Point $900,000 to use however the city sees fit. I’m just guessing, but I’ll bet that city will use the money on things such as police and fire resources, improving roads, and broader access to city services in general — all major benefits.

Honda also builds several cars here in the U.S., including the popular Honda Accord. In fact, Honda was the first foreign automaker to build cars in the U.S. In total, Honda has a $15.3 billion investment in the U.S. with nine manufacturing facilities in America alone. There are 530 suppliers across 34 states that provide parts and materials to American Honda manufacturing facilities. Those are real jobs held by real people living and paying taxes in the United States.

Build Where They Sell

There is also a less tangible benefit to buying American. Building cars in the country where you sell helps to save on shipping costs, which can help keep prices down or allow a manufacturer to include more safety features without raising a car’s price.

Toyota has stated that its philosophy is to “build where we sell,” and the automaker also maintains that being closer to the customer is important. At first, that sounds like a little bit of public relations rhetoric, but I seriously doubt that Toyota would be able to dominate the small-truck, hybrid and midsize-sedan categories the way they have been without investing some serious time and money into learning how average Americans live and work in the places where Toyota sells cars.

Real work and real results are still accomplished with feet on the ground and learning about your customers the old-fashioned way: meeting them in person and seeing how they live firsthand. You can only hold so many webinars and conference calls before you have to actually do something and get your hands dirty. Toyota knows this; the company builds trucks in San Antonio, Texas, and the Camry in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Next time you shop for a new car, think about where it’s built. If you want your hard-earned paycheck to benefit your neighbors and fellow Americans, consider a car or truck that’s built here in the U.S. That matters a lot more than who owns the company.

Chevrolet Corvette 87.5% made in USA according to Kogod

Chevrolet Corvette 87.5% made in USA according to Kogod School of Business

Editor’s Comment

The Biggest Boost To the U.S. Economy

(From the last sentence of the Moody article) If you want your hard-earned paycheck to benefit your neighbors and fellow Americans, consider a car or truck that’s built here in the U.S. That matters a lot more than who owns the company.

Link To Finding The Most American Car

The Kogod School of Business since 2013 has been publishing a list of automobiles sold in America and grading how much of the automobile is American. They grade the automobiles based on the points they accumulate – for assembly, engine, transmission, parts, company, etc. In a total cop-out, usually a car gets a “1” if the company’s Headquarters is in the USA, and “0” if it is foreign. So, for Chrysler which is owned by Fiat, they give all the Chrysler cars a “0.5”. One other criticism is I think the Kogod gives too much weight to whether the company’s Headquarters is in American. But, Kogod is still the best source of how much your car is American, see Kogod School of Business 2015 Index of Cars.

Buick Enclave 87.5% made in America according to Kogod

Buick Enclave 87.5% made in America according to Kogod

There is one other super cool link which shows by auto manufacturer where there models are made by state and the city that they are made in. See this link at bankrate.com. How it works: Go to the link, Click on the car manufacturer like Toyota, GM, etc, and then the models will show up and which city and state where they are assembled.

Other Items

The Huffington Post article covers only the US and Asian auto makers, but BMW and Mercedes manufactures some models in the USA. And Volvo is now owned by a Chinese company.

08
Sep
15

How Hugo Boss plant became Keystone Tailored Manufacturing

This is a Labor Day story about how the improbable can become the possible. The old Hugo Boss plant now has new life as Keystone Tailored Manufacturing, which is part of W Diamond. The union there was open to trying something unconventional. The goal was to save jobs and keep the plant open, but they also saw the fight as something greater.

Source: How Hugo Boss plant became Keystone Tailored Manufacturing: Made in America (photos) | cleveland.com

BROOKLYN, Ohio – It was a long-shot proposition, but the Workers United union members were willing to offer it. They were desperate to save jobs.

After all, what did they have to lose? Last December, the corporation owning the former Hugo Boss men’s suit plant on Tiedeman Road planned to shutter the facility, which meant about 160 Workers United members were out of a job.

Hugo Boss Plant becomes Keystone Tailored Manufacturing

Hugo Boss Plant becomes Keystone Tailored Manufacturing

At the same time, this union also represented workers at a Hart Schaffner Marx men’s suit factory in Chicago, which was desperately looking to fill 100 slots. Workers who sew were very hard to find, since so much of the domestic apparel manufacturing industry had been off-shored for decades.

The union members reasoned that if W Diamond Group Corp., which owns the Chicago facility, would acquire the local Hugo Boss operation it would be a win-win. Hugo Boss workers would keep their jobs. W Diamond would solve its worker shortage.

A logical solution, but just how probable was it that all the moving parts would fall into place?

Even if W Diamond wanted to acquire the plant and operations, the company would need some public subsidy. Hugo Boss had to agree to sell. And perhaps even more so, would the union be successful at saving the plant from closing — again? Five years ago, when Hugo Boss sought to close the plant, the workers fought back with a multi-faceted public campaign. That time, they won, and the plant remained open.

This is a Labor Day story about how the improbable can become the possible. The old Hugo Boss plant now has new life as Keystone Tailored Manufacturing. It is a separately owned company for which W Diamond is its key customer.

Richard Monje, the union’s international vice president, said Workers United was open to trying something unconventional. The goal was to save jobs, but they saw the fight as something greater.

“There is something about our working-class communities today in that they have come resigned to what they think is their fate, rather than the belief that they can shape their fate,” he said. “Shape their destiny. Stand up and fight. Make the laws and create the alliances.”

The long-shot that turned into a sure thing began with Noel Beasley, the union’s international president, raising the idea of buying the Brooklyn-based plant with W Diamond’s CEO Doug Williams.

“Is there something we can do together?” he recalled Beasley asking him. “Noel knew the challenge we were having getting sewers,” he said. “In the end, he is my partner. Part of his role is to get the labor that we need to continue to be successful.”

Made in the U.S.A

The union raised the idea with Keystone of acquiring the Hugo Boss operations because Workers United had a good working relationship with Williams. They especially liked that he had a Made in the U.S.A. philosophy. Hugo Boss had opted to shut down the Brooklyn operation in favor of sending work overseas.

The union also liked his philosophy about profits.

“Some people say, ‘If I can’t make $100 doing that then I am not going to do it,'” Williams said. “We look at it and say, ‘If I could make a dollar, it is better than not making anything'”

Williams said he could abide by this principle because he and his wife Karen, who own the company, don’t have to answer to shareholders.

Williams grew up on a 1,000-acre farm in South Dakota.

“In the summertime it is 100 degrees and you’re out on a tractor,” he said. “In the wintertime, it is 30 below zero, and you are taking care of cattle.”

He wasn’t a farm boy at heart. As a teenager, Williams got a job selling men’s suits at a clothing store owned by his father’s friend. It suited him well. That early experience would eventually lead to a career in the apparel industry.

“I love the apparel business,” Williams said. “For whatever reason, it is something that I really, really enjoy.”

Williams would eventually work for Ralph Lauren for 17 years, where he would rise to become group president, running all the wholesale businesses in the U.S., the global manufacturing and all licensing. After leaving the company, he became an investor in Filson, which manufacturers hunting and fishing apparel in Seattle, and served as interim CEO before selling his interest.

Williams got a job offer from HMX Group, whose parent company was based in India, which owned Hart Schaffner Marx and some other companies manufacturing clothing in the U.S. and Canada.

“I was asked to come onboard and do the turnaround,” he said. “I asked them point-blank, ‘What are your goals? If your goals are to dismantle this company, and ship the jobs offshore, I have no interest in doing it’

“The CEO said to me, ‘That is not our goal,” he said.

But the workers didn’t believe it. Williams remembers his first visit to the Hart Schaffner Marx factory in 2009.

“There were 600 people in the cafeteria, and I step up in front, with my navy pinstripe suit on,” he said. “I felt like Gordon Gekko because everybody looked at me like that,” he said of the “greed is good” character in the “Wall Street” film.

“The expectation of the people was that I was there to dismantle the company,” Williams said. “I had to explain to them that that was not what I was there to do. I told them we were going to create a more efficient company. We were going to clean up the balance sheet. We were going to pay down the debt.”

At the Coppley brand clothing factory in Ontario, Canada, a worker asked him this: “Are we going to be here next year?”

“I saw the skepticism in their faces,” he said of the workers. “I said, ‘Does anybody have a Sharpie pen?’ They scrambled around and got a Sharpie. I said, ‘I am going to sign my name on the floor right here. I want you to sign your name right next to mine.

“‘I promise you that next year, we are going be standing here next to these signatures on the floor,'” Williams said. “After I left, they had gotten some clear shellac (and painted over the signatures) to make sure that the names would not be gone next year when I came back.”

He made good on his promise. A year later, workers there had gone from working three to four days a week.

But Williams was finding it increasingly difficult to keep such promises because he said HMX Group leadership did not have a commitment to turning the factories around. When HMX went bankrupt in 2012, Hart Schaffner Marx was one of its companies W Diamond ended up buying.

Now under his company’s ownership, Williams could get the turnaround of the Chicago company back on track. The factory had gone from having only enough work for four days to employees doing an hour of overtime five days a week and working a half-day on Saturday. Business had grown by 50 percent since W Diamond took over.

He said two factors contributed to the healthy growth. Both retailers and customers have responded “very positively” to the way the redesigned garments fit.

“The second was our largest competitor being purchased by Men’s Wearhouse and exiting the wholesale market,” Williams wrote in an email.

But staffing shortages stood to potentially unravel this success. He said in order to fill 100 slots the company was prepared to train 300 job seekers at a cost of $1.5 million.

“They might not even complete the training or they didn’t have the dexterity to make our garments,” Williams said. “We were getting maybe three applicants per week.”

Caught off Guard

At the same time W Diamond was having little success finding skilled sewers in Chicago, something else was about to happen to garment workers here.

In early December, Mark Milko, area director of Workers United, believed he had been invited to meet Hugo Boss’ new head of U.S. operations. Instead, Milko said a company “big wig” greeted him with, “You knew this was coming.”

“I’m thinking, ‘what was coming?'” Milko said. “They said, ‘We’re going to close.'”

They made the statement so matter-of-factly, he said. Then company officials rattled off what they intended to offer workers in severance pay and other items related to a layoff.

“I’m not talking about anything,” Milko remembers telling them. “The meeting’s over!”

He said he headed straight to the factory to tell Wanda Navarro, president of Local 168c at the plant. In 2010, she and co-worker Sheila McVay became the public face of the union’s campaign to keep the plant open.

Last time it was also in December that Hugo Boss said it would shutter the plant. Their reasons echoed those from five years earlier.

The company said, “inefficiencies and other challenges posed by the plant’s geographic location” made the Cleveland area a bad place to do business. Again,  union members said that was just code for the company wanting to send jobs to Turkey or other places abroad where it had operations.

Five years earlier, the union fought back with a multi-faceted public campaign, which included actor Danny Glover leading a boycott of Hugo Boss clothing on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, as well as local demonstrations by workers. Also, the union found out that some public pension funds had invested in the private equity firm that then owned Hugo Boss. Some of those fund officials were willing to speak up for the employees.

All the actions the union took held to this central theme: Why was Hugo Boss seeking to rob its working-class employees of the American Dream at the same time it was also seeking to grow its share of the American clothing market?

Navarro was shocked when Milko told her the company wanted to close the factory again. Again, she said she was ready to fight back.

A short time later, an entourage of Hugo Boss officials, including those from the company’s human resources division, filed into the plant. Some were carrying boxes filled with official-looking documents.

“Oh no, they have people here to translate,” Navarro thought to herself.

People from more than 20 nationalities work at the plant, including immigrants from Bosnia, Cambodia, Romania and Vietnam. The last time she saw so many company officials at the factory, they were trying to shut the place down.

Even though she and Milko knew of the company’s intentions, they were expecting perhaps an announcement about closing — not a demand for employees to immediately sign papers regarding severance and other terms relating to being laid off.

“We told (the employees) not to sign or they would be giving away all their rights,” Milko said.

Only one person signed.

Hugo Boss officials must have known the announcement wouldn’t to go over well. Milko said they brought off-duty police officers with them. And they were right. Many workers were furious.

“I said, ‘Relax. Relax,'” Milko said to the employees broiling with anger. “The fight is just starting.”

They were ready to fight, but not with their fists.

When Milko reached Monje, the union’s international vice president, by phone he was outraged at Hugo Boss for wanting to close the plant.

“Everything they said they needed to have, because that was what they had in Turkey, we gave them,” Monje said. That included a maximum three weeks vacation – instead of four – and tying salary increases to performance.

“After five years of trying to do what they wanted they come and say they are closing the plant,” he said.

Monje said the union had three options: Fight for their jobs like before, bargain a better severance package or help find a buyer.

For most, losing a job was not an option, Milko said. It was a middle-age work force, most of whom had spent their careers in an industry where it would be difficult to find a job. But he said many workers believed their relationship with the company had deteriorated so they doubted whether it could be repaired.

They wanted to keep their jobs; but they wanted a new employer.

A roller coaster

Williams liked Workers United’s idea about Keystone acquiring the Hugo Boss operations; but he told them public funding would be necessary.

About a month after his conversation with the union’s international president, Williams was in Washington, D.C., meeting with Sen. Sherrod Brown, a strong proponent of keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S. The senator had also been involved in the 2010 effort to save the plant. He gave Williams his support.

“We would do whatever we could,” Brown said he told him. “We wanted to have as little interruption of work here as possible. We told him we would work with the city and county to do whatever we could.”

By February, Williams was talking to Hugo Boss about acquiring the plant. He was also speaking to state and local entities about funding. Keystone wouldn’t be able to take over the operations without it. No deal had been struck or public funding secured, but things looked promising.

Back at the plant, her co-workers were giving union president Navarro a hard time. The union had committed to not revealing Keystone was in negotiations with Hugo Boss. Instead, they used phrases such as a “viable option is being pursed.”

People were becoming suspicious. By this time five years ago, the campaign to save the plant was in full stride. To make matters worse, the company was still trying to get workers to sign the severance documents they brought to the plant when the layoff was announced. The company had sweetened the deal, offering a $1,000 bonus.

“They were thinking that we were lying,” Navarro said of her co-workers. “They were thinking that it was not going to go through. They were saying that we are going to be without a job at the end, and we are not going to have this money. People were getting out of hand sometimes. Emotionally, it was really bad.”

Then in March, it appeared the plant had been saved. Keystone and Hugo Boss held a news conference, saying an agreement had been reached. It would be finalized in the coming weeks.

The union signed a three-year contract. The givebacks had been restored. Instead of tying raises to performance, workers would get increases of 2 to 2.5 percent a year depending on salary.

Just when it seemed things were looking up, a few weeks later Milko, who heads the union in Northeast Ohio, got a call from Beasley, the international president. He said the sale was falling apart.

“I said, ‘Oh, my God!” Milko said. “That scared the hell out of me. They were so close.”

A new beginning

Eventually, all of the parties were able to come to agreement, but it took until April.

“When all of the support came together in the first go round, it wasn’t enough,” Williams said. “We had to say to everybody, ‘We want to do this, but if everybody doesn’t want to do it together, it is not going to happen.’

“Everybody had to go back and do some soul-searching about what this factory meant to their community,” he said.

For example, Cuyahoga County, which initially proposed a $500,000 loan, ended up approving one for $650,000, said Nathan Kelly, the county’s interim director of development. Brooklyn gave $150,000 in grants and JobsOhio made a $420,000 grant.

Keystone also increased the amount of money it put into the deal. Williams declined to say how much his company put into the deal or the amount the company paid in acquiring the operation, which included purchasing the plant.
But according to public real estate transaction records, the building sold for $1.8 million.

Ultimately, deciding to support the Keystone facility with public funding came down to whether the company would save, as well as create, jobs.

Hugo Boss was making about 70,000 garments a year, Williams said. He added that Keystone will make about the same, but the potential to increase capacity is great.

“We also believe there is an opportunity for an additional 150,000 garments,” Williams wrote in an email. “This would come from securing a major contract and securing additional qualified sewers to make the garments.”

He said the company also intends to partner with local vocational educational institutions to train skilled sewers in hopes of never dealing with another shortage again.

The county’s Kelly said Williams showed his commitment to retaining jobs, especially with Keystone’s decision to pay workers the difference between their unemployment checks and their salaries while the plant was closed a few months for retooling.

“We looked at A) it was the right thing to do,” Williams said. “And B) we needed to do it because we need every single person to come back for our business to be successful.”

With all the funding in place, and other acquisition issues resolved, the deal went through. Milko called Navarro and told her the good news. She poured a glass of Bacardi and had a toast.

“The nightmare is over,” she said. “I am able to breathe again.

local hugo

 Editor’s Note
It is great news that the Hugo Boss plant in Ohio will continue to make “Made in USA” apparel. And here is a salute to Workers United who had the foresight to save the jobs of American garment workers at the shuttered Hugo Boss plants. Thanks to the Alliance of American Manufacturing for highlighting this story. Keep America strong – preserve American jobs.



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