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Buy American jobs

The Hill – Efforts by those who never want to hear someone say, “Bye-bye American manufacturing,” converged coincidentally to make June Buy American month.

First, at the forceful urging of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), the Smithsonian on June 8 opened an all-American-made gift shop in the National Museum of American History. Three days later, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio introduced legislation requiring federal agencies to buy only 100 percent American-made flags.

Then, at the Netroots Nation 2011 conference in Minneapolis, Minn, this week, the AFL-CIO will serve American union-made beer, including Schell’s, brewed in Minnesota by members of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW). The Alliance for American Manufacturing will host at Netroots an American-made fashion show at which it will serve USW-member made Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars. And the BlueGreen Alliance is distributing to Netroots attendees mercury-free, USW-made, energy-efficient, non-curly cue Oshram Sylvania halogen light bulbs.

All these events occurring before mid-June are significant in an era of stubborn 9.1 percent unemployment, a time when 14 million unemployed Americans are searching for jobs. It’s significant because buying American-made products is buying American jobs. And buying American union-made products is buying good, middle class American jobs.

Eight million American manufacturing workers have lost their jobs over the past 30 years as multi-national corporations off-shored factories. But America still manufactures and the prices of American-manufactured goods, including those made by union workers, are competitive with foreign-made products.

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