Commentary: The Loss of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs
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Commentary: The Loss of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs

by Dana Matejka

We are a small manufacturing company that has been in business for 36 years. We have never been worried like we are now. We're not against free trade and competition, but the current situation is way beyond that. We offer a catalog line of metal stampings for the lighting industry and have competed with imports for more than 20 years. That was okay when there were still companies here manufacturing/assembling, but now they are bringing in the fixtures assembled, boxed, and ready to sell.

The American Lighting Association stated that 80% of lighting is now coming in from offshore, which creates a domino effect - component manufacturers do not have anyone to sell to, therefore they (we) are not buying steel/aluminum/other metals, we are not buying equipment, tools, supplies, we are not using shipping services, etc. This is not the "trickle down" effect that we looked forward to in the 80s. Our company only employs about 20 people, but when you multiply that by all the other small to medium-size manufacturers of 20 to 50 people, that adds up to an awful lot of people that will not have jobs. How then will we buy the "stuff" coming in from China or pay for all the "services" that the people here are providing in their new jobs?

When manufacturing is gone from the U.S., who is going to protect us? Are we going to buy our military equipment from China? That's an interesting concept - like the fox watching over the hen house!

Why don't we hear of this in the mainstream media? The only place I hear anyone talking about it is in trade magazines. What can we do? Is there time to turn the tide?

Dana Matejka
California Tool & Die
421 S Irwindale Ave.
Azusa, CA 91702

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