"Made in the U.S." campaign launched in Bay Area

March 26, 2012 6:33:30 PM PDT
A nationwide "Made in the U.S." campaign was launched in the Bay Area Monday. The idea is to structure future public works projects to create American jobs.

From toys to cars to solar panels, it's hard to find American-made goods. The fact that steel for new Bay Bridge came from China is prompting a call that major transportation projects going forward should be made in America.

A high-profile billboard in the East Bay is one of two pointing out that much of the steel for the new Bay Bridge eastern span was made in China.

"There should be an obligation for public officials to try to employ Americans when they're spending tax dollars instead of subsidizing jobs in China," Alliance for American Manufacturing spokesperson Scott Paul said.

A coalition of labor and manufacturing groups launched a campaign to make sure this doesn't happen again other major projects, including the proposed high-speed rail project.

AC Transit already has revised its procurement policies to buy from American sources.

"Now I'm proud to say that we just approved a major bus purchase right here for a company in Hayward called Gillig," AC Transit Director-At-Large Joel Young said.

The construction trades have also found it difficult to hold onto jobs as new technology makes it easier, and often cheaper, to source overseas.

"The technologies today are good enough that the tolerances can be measured close enough in what's called building imaging modeling or BIM as it's known in our industry," Building and Construction Trades Council spokesperson Neil Struthers said. "Entire buildings have been prefabricated in other countries and shipped here to be assembled."

Go into an auto parts store, and you'll see how much is made all over the world.

It's estimated that 400,000 American jobs have been lost over the past decade. There has been a 25 percent increase in parts from China in the past two years, helped in part by $27 billion in Chinese government subsidies.

Even American companies are sourcing overseas.

"They are top-notch companies; they're just sourcing their production from over in Taiwan and China," Winchester Auto Parts manager Gary Gobin said.

The campaign organizers are working with elected officials to mandate "Made in the U.S." requirements and they're hoping in this election year it will become a major campaign issue as a way to boost job creation.


Load Comments