Congress needs to finalize competitiveness legislation that includes trade enforcement tools so American workers and manufacturers can take on China’s predatory trade practices.
Editor’s note: The message below was originally sent to Alliance for American Manufacturing supporters on Thursday.
Back when I graduated from high school in Reading, Pa., there was opportunity for working class kids like me: You could get a job at four or five of the union-represented manufacturers in town.
I did just that. I worked as a steelworker for 40 years, making enough money for my family to have a comfortable lifestyle and buy a house.
These days, though, it’s hard to find family-sustaining work. Reading is just one of many American cities that has been decimated by unfair trade and unfettered offshoring. As for me, I lost my job because dumped imports from China caused my factory to downsize and cut wages and benefits.
But now our lawmakers in Washington – if you can believe it! – actually have an opportunity to support the creation of well-paid manufacturing jobs and strengthen our trade laws.
If they don’t act soon, though, they could blow it.
The legislation, called the Bipartisan Innovation Act, would invest billions of dollars in critical industries like semiconductors and strengthen our trade laws to compete with countries like China — which already is investing $150 billion in its own semiconductor industry.
The Bipartisan Innovation Act could create good jobs. Intel is building a semiconductor factory in Ohio, and the average starting salary will be $135,000! The company said it will expand production if competitiveness legislation passes Congress.
It’s also critical that the final bill includes legislation called the Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0, which will give America’s manufacturers and workers the trade enforcement tools they need to take on China’s predatory trade practices.
If these trade tools were in place when I was still working, I very well may have kept my job. It’s too late for me, but it’s not too late to build a better future for the next generation!
The world is much more complicated now than it was when I began my career. But I truly believe it’s within our power to create new, exciting opportunities for American workers, and ensure the 21st century is Made in America.