When Made In America Drops The Ball

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In this new era of “Make America Great Again” and “Made In America” being the National Call To Action for our new President, its important to reevaluate what that means.

We have been angry over NAFTA and TTP, upset over foreign workers being shipped in to our country and pissed off manufacturing jobs leaving our country. But Why? Why have we gotten so emotional over these issues? Americans aren’t interested in working those kinds of jobs are they? Do they still take pride in “Made In America” manufacturing? Do they still give 110% to be sure American made is the best in the World?

Well, as the wife of a 45 year manufacturing employee, I would say, America has got fat and lazy. They have gotten greedy and have forgotten that feeling of pride and satisfaction of a good days work, well done.

Case In Point: Our latest example. A manufacturing plant, part of a corporation, locked in a contract with General Motors, closing its doors. Why? It would seem from management down, the general theme is pass the buck, enjoy that big money and float on through the day. As a front seat observer to the shutdown, its sad.

Day after day of stories about Supervisors and Plant Managers leaving together during the work day to pick up accessories for the PM’s new truck..Guy Stuff Vs Managing the business. Then we have  “working Supervisors” sitting at their computer all day, no instructions or work done. From dept to dept, people more concerned with personal business, their phones and other employees vs working and producing class A parts for GM. Everyone is making good money and have good benefits but fail to deliver a good day’s work for that pay or benefit.

The end result is mass layoffs because of bad parts, late deliveries and incompetence everywhere. People who are older and own their homes, now forced to go out of state to work because there is no other work locally. Not to mention, management staff making huge bonuses for shutting the plant down in a timely manner. Not because work is slow but because the American Worker chose to coast through their day and management didn’t care enough to lead. Time and time again, I have witnessed this happen to Company after Company. Over 24 years of marriage and watching my husband have to deal with manufacturing leaving and Companies closing down.

I would be hard pressed to blame it all on China or Mexico. I feel that there is room for blame right here. As I said in the beginning, America got fat and lazy. We got used to high wages and gravy jobs in manufacturing. Specialty careers, like ours, made even more. Now, there are not enough skilled people to do those jobs and many of the people that have survived the loss of manufacturing in America, spend their days coasting till retirement.

As our President talks about bringing manufacturing back to America, it makes me smile with pride. Yet, the feeling of pride dwarfs into a sense of worry and dismay at the way our country has become. We have been told for so many years that America couldn’t do it, and though I hated hearing that, I see where that idea came from. If our workers in America don’t have that “American Pride And Spirit” in their work and their jobs, how can we make the best products in the world anymore?

America’s pride that came with well made products and excellence has waned over the years and has become a bad penny that seems to continue to show up these days. Products going out the door that don’t work, contracts cancelled due to low quality work and employees more concerned with getting out the door instead of getting products out the door.

As our President advocates for more manufacturing to come to this country, I think we need to reevaluate our purpose and work ethic. We have been programmed to hate our jobs and always stick it to the man, take an extra break or two and bypass quality and excellence for more leisure time. Can we get back to the mindset of WW11? Pride in our work and our products? Really feeling good about working a job and doing it well?

I am not sure there are enough people, with that memory and experience, to pass it on to a generation of young people, who can barely make it out of bed, unless they have a meal waiting for them. It’s sad to see the way things have become in America. Surely, somewhere deep in the heart of this country, there are those who truly remember, “Made In America” And what that meant.

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