Got Manufacturing?: 'We've lost 8 to 10 NUMMI's a year in CA'Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Aug. 28, 2009
vacate their Fremont, California manufacturing facility, despite broad support from the Assembly Jobs Committee at a Tuesday hearing.
NUMMI's decision shows what is certain to materialize for other companies and their suppliers if state policymakers don't produce a competitive manufacturing environment: California facilities will be the first to go when tough economic decisions are made. Uncertainty, regulatory costs and taxes are simply too high in California.
CMTA President Jack Stewart offered this salient point in his testimony on the overall picture in the state: "Since the dawn of this century we've been losing eight to ten NUMMI's in California every year." With 580,000 lost manufacturing jobs since 2001, this statement rings true. We are losing manufacturing jobs at a faster clip than the rest of the nation, both before and during the current national recession. Because the overall losses have been more incremental in nature (as they always are), and not under the lights and attention that a NUMMI or Buck Knives received, these job losses have been widely ignored.
It's important to note that in December 2008, before the recessionary job losses shifted into high gear, the state was bleeding 474,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001. These losses cannot be blamed solely on the recession. Our problems started long before the country's mortgage and stock market meltdowns. And in the collective reality check of our nation and state, California must not deny where so much of our wealth begins -- on the new age factory floors and in the hands of our manufacturing workers.
Comments out of the Jobs committee indicate that the tide may be turning. There appears to be interest by some to reinvigorate our manufacturing community, halt California's slide to a low wage service economy, and bolster our government bank account.
Remember the 'Got Milk' ad campaign? The simplicity of the message was brilliant. With two words, they got the whole country to ponder whether we had enough milk in our system and how dim-witted we were for ignoring such a necessity. With the past dismissive legislative attitudes, the current employment and economic slide, and now the growing call for manufacturing policies, it's as if you can hear California's new campaign emerging, 'Got Manufacturing?'. California just can't survive by losing the segment of the economy most responsible for creating California wealth.
Many California family dreams and success stories were built on NUMMI's innovative factory floor. Let's not lose eight to ten more NUMMI's in 2010.
View Assembly Republicans and Democrats, Labor and other NUMMI and manufacturing testimony from Tuesday's Assembly Jobs Committee:
CMTA President Jack M. Stewart (4:47)
California Labor Federation's Angie Wei (1:42)
Assemblyman Manny Perez, D (1:51)
Assemblywoman Mary Salas, D (3:08)
State Senator Ellen Corbett (D) (3:08)
Assemblyman Dan Logue, R (3:05)
Assemblyman Jim Beall, D (3:29)
Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, R (1:05)
Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D (0:24)
UAW workers (3:19)
East Bay Economic Development Alliance Exec. Director Bruce Kearn (3:24)
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