Friday, May 29, 2009

Buy American and Save Superior Industries

Superior Industries has been laying off workers in Northwest Arkansas, because the domestic automobile industry is in a slump. Think about that when you consider buying a foreign car.

So, the world isn’t flat after all. Not that some of us ever bought into Thomas Friedman-speak. But many in this country did, especially those running the political show, and now we have a chance to shape a progressive future on the ashes of such failed visions.

And that progressive future needs a widespread recognition of the acceptance of the need to Buy America. A good first step is taking the American Auto Revivial Pledge.

One of the hardest connections for those of us in the union movement to make with our progressive allies has been in the area of trade and policies that encourage U.S. consumers to Buy American Made. Especially Buy America.

Why is that so?

Calls to buy American-made products are not throwbacks to 19th century U.S. xenophobia. Nor are they red flags for launching trade wars. The fact is, European nations have significant legal trade barriors that are called everything but what they are, protectionist. And far from isolationists, U.S. unions work closely with our union brothers and sisters around the world, championing the rights of workers wherever they are abused.

In fact, those who most stridently oppose Buy America are the very self-styled cheerleaders of the ol’ red, white and blue: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, opponents of all things progressive.

Many kudos to social activist Danny Glover who last week joined an 11-state, 34-city “Keep It Made in America” bus tour sponsored in part by the United Steelworkers (USW). Glover told the crowd that saving the auto industry is good for the country because it saves good jobs. And it’s important to help more workers join unions so they, too, can have benefits and decent wages.

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