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More manufacturing loss and missed opportunity

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Sept. 18, 2009

California's manufacturing jobs declined again in August.  This month there are 2,800 less high wage middle class jobs in California that could have played a role in our  economic recovery.  The total loss since January 2001 now totals 583,000 -- 31 percent of the state's original manufacturing base at the start of this century.

While we lose these jobs, California also suffers from too many missed opportunities for new growth.  An exponential amount of companies surveying the country for competitive places to manufacture have given up on California because of costs and unpredictability.  This must be turned around with laser focused policies for competitiveness and an articulated commitment to growing middle class jobs and the economy.

One week after the close of the state's legislative session, we can start with some important vetoes and signatures for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to help keep the state's manufacturing base afloat.  Below are some of those important bills with CMTA's veto and signature request letters.

As we prepare for the second year of this Legislative session, the state's manufacturing losses must be at the forefront of concern in our economic recovery and one of the ultimate motivations for policies from our elected leaders.  Clear signals of California's commitment to manufacturing must come, and they must come fast. 



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California makes Washington 'look to polish up investment strategies'

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Sept. 11, 2009

The President of the Association of Washington Business, Don Brunell, wrote a piece this week asking Washington state policymakers to "polish up their investment strategies for Washington's manufacturing base" or risk California's fate.

Brunell uses recent reports and the Milken findings to explain how California has killed and continues to kill the proverbial golden egg that it needs for its recovery and new revenues.

Even the well-read British magazine, the Economist, supported Brunell's findings.  "Indeed, high taxes, coupled with intrusive regulations on business and greenery taken to silly extremes, have gradually strangled what was once America’s most dynamic state economy," Brunell noted from the magazine.

A great read for any policymaker: Golden State's manufacturing image tarnished


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Got Manufacturing?: 'We've lost 8 to 10 NUMMI's a year in CA'

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Aug. 28, 2009

Unfortunately, the Toyota portion of NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.) will follow GM's path and 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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