Viewing blog posts written by Dorothy Rothrock

A growing MFG economy would be a powerful message for CA climate change leadership

Posted by Dorothy Rothrock, President on March 26, 2015

I enjoyed speaking on a climate change panel this week hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).  The topic is important to manufacturers because they are sensitive to high energy costs, and we can expect ever higher energy costs when state climate change rules go into full effect. 
Other states are watching to see if the manufacturing economy in California will be hurt under our strict greenhouse gas reduction rules.  They won’t jump on board until they believe it will be good for their economies. That matters because we could take every single molecule of carbon out of the California economy and climate change would still happen.  The climate will improve only if other states and countries adopt significant reduction polices.   
My fellow panelists expressed great enthusiasm about our state’s leadership role in this global issue but they downplayed facts on the ground about the state’s economy.  The state is seriously lagging the US in manufacturing job growth since the recession ended. We also have very weak levels of investments for new sites or expansions.  Energy costs play a big part in making California a tough place to be a manufacturer.  
I understand the desire to put a positive spin on the climate change story and only make the story about technology advancements and growth in green jobs.   It interrupts a glowing narrative to mention the trade-offs -- potential loss of high wage, middle class manufacturing jobs -- when we indiscriminately add new costs to the economy.  Some groups do not want to raise public awareness about the trade-offs and thereby dampen enthusiasm about addressing climate change.    
But if manufacturing continues to suffer in California, other states will be reluctant to adopt similar policies. The states we need to convince have vibrant manufacturing economies with middle class jobs that they do not want to lose. Brushing the manufacturing data under the rug is not fooling anyone outside California – in fact, those state leaders see our failure to acknowledge the economic truths as one more reason to put California in the “kooky” category and shy away from joining our programs to reduce emissions.  
 A question that should have been asked at the PPIC event was “How can California inspire other states and countries to adopt our policies to reduce climate emissions?”  My answer would have been:  “Don’t deny the costs of the policies, take action to minimize those costs, and then make a commitment to prove with facts and data that a healthy manufacturing economy is, and will be, supported by our climate change policies.”  
That approach has a chance of putting California in a true leadership position on climate change.  

0 comments | Post your comment

International Paper shows off their operations

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on March 18, 2015

CMTA recently visited International Paper’s box plant in Elk Grove for a fantastic tour that coincided with International Paper’s Legislative Day at the state capitol. The tour provided us with a clear picture of their talented people, innovative products and sustainable operations.  
International Paper employs approximately 2,500 people in California who work across the state at 27 sites, resulting in a large economic footprint in our state. The majority of the company’s California operations are part of its Industrial Packaging business which includes corrugated boxes, retail displays, bulk packaging, kraft paper bags and recycling. Their products are used as conventional shipping containers, product marketing and eye-catching retail displays for a wide range of industries. As consumers, we see corrugated containers pretty much everywhere we look. Pizza comes in corrugated boxes, as do new appliances, new audio and video equipment, plus all the orders you receive after shopping online.  We also see corrugated displays at big-box retailers, especially during high volume shopping times like Black Friday and back to school.
The company also has a Foodservice plant that manufactures paper cups, food containers, plates and other single-use packaging used by many well-known quick-service restaurants. Although not manufactured in California, International Paper also creates high quality printing papers such as Hammermill™ and produces market and fluff pulp that is used by other companies to produce a wide range of absorbent hygiene, paper and tissue products used by millions of consumers every day.
International Paper’s Elk Grove plant has 125 employees and makes corrugated boxes for fresh produce, processed foods, light industrial, and e-commerce marketing segments.  A few months ago, many of the employees volunteered over the course of two weekends to assist the Sacramento Tree Foundation with an effort to reforest areas in the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge with native trees.
Some additional interesting things we learned:
  • They can produce more than 200 boxes a minute.
  • Corrugated is the most frequently used shipping material because it is cost-effective, lightweight, functional and versatile.
  • The whole industry has a 63 percent recovery rate on paper and 90 percent on boxes.
  • One individual we met was actually on his last day of work before retirement. He had been with the company for 41 years. Who says these aren’t highly coveted middle class jobs?
  • One of their biggest workforce needs is skilled maintenance technicians.
CMTA is proud to represent such an impressive company and operation that delivers highly popular and sustainable consumer products and high wage middle class opportunities.
IP Collage

0 comments | Post your comment

Update on MFG jobs vs the U.S.

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on March 12, 2015

The Bureau of Labor Statistics and California's Employment Development Department recently made their annual revisions to employment data. California manufacturing still lags behind the country in manufacturing job growth since the recession, though the state did see a little bump comparatively to the country.

On the month-to-month front, California lost 4,200 manufacturing jobs in January. 

We ask you, is this reaching California's potential? Are we comfortable with this direction? The manufacturing renaissance is a tremendous moment of opportunity for California to leverage and grow opportunities for its middle class working families. As stated in this great National Association of Manufacturers video, "Nothing happens unless we hit that start button."


Chart MFG jobs CA vs US



0 comments | Post your comment

Video: America would not be what it is today without manufacturing

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on March 12, 2015

"Manufacturing is not just about reviving an economy, it's about creating a new brighter future for everyone."  Watch and share this awesome National Association of Manufacturers video.


IMAGE of MFG Vision video


0 comments | Post your comment

Sensible climate policy can grow all CA jobs

Posted by Dorothy Rothrock, President on Feb. 19, 2015

California leaders hope that our climate policies will grow the green economy.  We hope they are right.  But even if green jobs grow, we’ve got to be careful that mandates to reduce fossil fuel use don’t hurt even more jobs in the rest of the economy. 
The California Center for Jobs and the Economy released a new report that puts this into perspective.  No matter who is measuring green jobs, they amount to no more than 2 percent of total jobs in the California economy.   Even a high green jobs growth rate won’t add enough jobs to power our economy.  On the flip side, raising energy rates will increase pressure on manufacturers who employ more than 10 percent of California workers.  They already pay nearly 80 percent higher rates than the national average for electricity.  We need to count manufacturing and other jobs at-risk from higher energy prices to provide a full account of the jobs impact of climate policies.  We should also make sure that energy-efficient manufacturing jobs count as “green” when they are lost, or gained, by state policies.  CMTA will be advocating for sensible climate policies to keep the entire economy on track. 
IMAGE -- Green jobs vs Overall jobs

0 comments | Post your comment
View next 5 entries

Copyright © 2015, California Manufacturers & Technology Association. All rights reserved.