Labor & Employment

To keep manufacturing an engine of the economy, we need labor policies that support flexibility and innovation.

Business Operations

NAM Retirement Plans Offer Security for Manufacturers

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At a time when attracting and retaining talented employees is more important than ever, offering a retirement plan can make a critical difference. But for manufacturers like Winton Machine Company, a tube and coax fabrication manufacturer based in Suwanee, Georgia, the cost of a plan can create a real challenge.

  • “It’s really difficult as a small manufacturer, because you’re competing against benefit packages that are given by large companies,” said Winton Machine CEO and co-owner Lisa Winton.

That’s why, when the company came across the NAM’s Manufacturers Retirement & Savings plan, they knew they were onto something good.

A tailored plan: The Manufacturers Retirement & Savings Plan, offered in partnership with Principal Financial Group® and HUB International LLC, is a multiple employer plan that is available to all NAM members and designed to cover all 14,000 member companies. Companies of all sizes can participate, which creates new financial opportunities for and offers more security to the millions of men and women who make things in America.

A trusted approach: Winton appreciates that the program offers a product she can trust—and that her employees can rely on. Because the plan comes vetted and designed by the NAM, she can feel confident that she and her employees are invested in a high-quality offering.

  • “I have a hard enough time understanding what funds to put my 401(k) in,” said Winton. “I depend on a financial advisor who’s an expert in that area. So my employees, a lot of them are in the same position as I am.”

Useful resources: The NAM’s plan also comes with a range of exclusive tools designed to help manufacturers understand their investments so that they can make the most of the opportunities available to them.

  • “There’s great online resources, and we’re also able to share those videos on the premises with our people,” said Winton. “We’ve had one-on-ones, we’ve had group trainings. We’re looking forward to . . . having a financial advisor come and meet with our employees and talk to them, encourage them to put more money in their 401(k), but also help educate them on what’s happening with their money and how to invest it better.”

Accessible support: Winton Machine emphasized the value of the plan’s support system, which answers questions from employees and company leaders.

  • “It’s been very, very easy,” said Winton. “I have one point of contact, which is really important. I don’t have to go and call a 1-800 number if I’ve got an issue.”

The bottom line: “The [NAM retirement] plans are new, they haven’t been around that long, and they offer a lot of opportunities for us to share costs and also really understand your funds and understand what you’re paying for,” said Winton. “I think I have a much better overall product now at the same price or less.”

Business Operations

Rail Unions Move Closer to National Strike

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Another large labor union has voted to reject the rail deal brokered in part by the Biden administration, moving the industry closer to a strike, according to CNBC.

Split decision: Two of the largest railroad labor unions in the United States went separate ways during their contract ratification votes, which were announced on Monday. The Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division voted against the proposed agreement by a slim margin, while the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen voted to ratify it.

What it means: This latest action raises the likelihood of a rail work stoppage in early December. In total, 8 of 12 unions have now ratified the tentative agreement concluded in September while the rank-and-file membership of 4 unions have rejected it.

  • Should one union choose to go on strike, the broad impact would cripple the national freight rail network.

The impact: The railroad industry and major shipping groups have found that a strike would likely cost around $2 billion per day, also according to CNBC. It would affect every major rail operator.

  • “The American Chemistry Council, which represents companies including 3M, Dow, Dupont, BP, Exxon Mobil and Eli Lilly, said a rail strike would impact approximately $2.8 billion in chemicals cargo a week, and lead to a GDP decline and renewed inflation.”
  • “Other industries, from agriculture to retail, have warned of the economic risks of a strike.”

Next steps: Negotiations will continue through a cooling-off period that runs until early December. If a deal is not reached by 12:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 5, a strike could occur. The NAM and others have urged Congress to take action under the Railway Labor Act and pass legislation that would avert a strike if railroads and rail unions cannot reach such a deal.

What we’re saying: “Manufacturers are disheartened by today’s news on the further unraveling of rail negotiations,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “It’s clear that Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, must be prepared to work together immediately to avert a rail strike and prevent further damage to our supply chain.”

Press Releases

Manufacturers Call for Passage of the Respect for Marriage Act

Bill will protect current and future interracial and same-gender marriages while providing appropriate religious protections

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Manufacturers released the following statement calling for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act:

“Manufacturers know that individuals truly thrive in their careers when they can bring their authentic selves to work and feel confident that their families will be safe from discrimination or worse in the places they have chosen to live. The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that the legal protections around which so many Americans, including manufacturing workers, have ordered their lives will not be suddenly rolled back. Codifying federal protections for interracial marriages and same-gender marriages with appropriate protections for religious liberty will help keep all families equal under the law and ensure that manufacturers can continue to hire and retain a diverse and talented workforce. It will deliver families and businesses the certainty they need and deserve.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.9 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Workforce

Caterpillar Foundation Helps Veterans Find Manufacturing Careers

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On Veterans Day, we honor the service members who safeguard our country, many of whom will go on to contribute their skills and experiences to civilian industries. Manufacturing is one beneficiary, with many veterans finding that the high-tech, mission-focused industry is an excellent home for their talents.

But how do transitioning service members and veterans find their new career paths? The Caterpillar Foundation is helping America’s heroes become tomorrow’s manufacturing leaders through its support of the Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America initiative.

HMA provides integrated certification and career-readiness training in partnership with local community colleges to prepare transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard members, reservists and military spouses for rewarding careers in the manufacturing and supply chain industries.

Virtual training: The Caterpillar Foundation’s support began in 2021 and has helped HMA develop and launch its first 100% virtual training offering in partnership with Texas State Technical College—an exciting option for individuals across the country who might not be able to attend an in-person course.

  • The program uses innovative solutions like virtual reality technology, provided by Transfr VR, in order to add a “hands-on” aspect to the students’ training for their Production Technician and OSHA 10 certifications.
  • “Heroes MAKE America was great,” said Benjamin Novak, a graduate of Heroes MAKE America’s virtual training program. “The virtual self-paced program allowed me to balance class, transitioning and family life. Getting an opportunity to connect and speak with companies directly was a huge opportunity as well.”

New programs: Additionally, thanks to the foundation’s grant, Heroes MAKE America launched two new in-person training paths: a Mechatronics training program at Fort Hood, Texas, also in partnership with Texas State Technical College, and a Certified Logistics Technician training program at Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, in partnership with Savannah Technical College.

  • Together, the three new training offerings (the two mentioned above and the virtual option) have graduated 133 participants as of November 2022, with another 40 participants expected to graduate in December.
  • “Heroes MAKE America is a great program that wants to see veterans succeed,” said Anna Rabago, a graduate of the Mechatronics training at Fort Hood, Texas. “They helped mold me into a great candidate for manufacturing while earning seven manufacturing certifications. The instructors are subject-matter experts in their field and are willing to work early or late evenings to benefit the soldiers.”

An impressive year: The HMA program is on track to graduate 303 members of the military community across all 6 training sites in 2022, bringing the total number of graduates since the 2018 inception of HMA to 957. The training sites include Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and the 100% virtual option.

The last word: “HMA provided me with all the tools that I needed to thrive as a civilian,” said Tillman Harris, a graduate of the Production Technician training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “They provided industry training, résumé assistance, interview prep and much more. Trust in yourself and have confidence in everything you do. HMA is a program that cares about us and wants us to succeed.”

Learn more: Find out more about Heroes MAKE America here.

Workforce

Cornerstone Building Brands Creates a Diverse, Inclusive Workplace

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To Carol Enneking, creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is less of a race to a finish line than an ongoing expedition that never really ends.

A journey: “Realizing a workplace culture where DE&I is not just prioritized but celebrated was a critical aspiration,” said Enneking, Cornerstone Building Brands’ vice president of talent management, learning and diversity. “It’s a journey to get there, but not a destination where you will ever arrive to stay. You expect your workplace to evolve as highly diverse and inclusive, but you can always do more,” she said.

Taking action: Cornerstone Building Brands, a leading manufacturer of exterior commercial and residential building products, has been taking decisive actions to increase diversity and inclusion since the company’s inception in 2018. Extra focus has been given to its DE&I strategy since 2020, shortly after the murder of George Floyd, when the company began activating its DE&I commitment with employees.

  • “I spent a great deal of time on this in 2020,” Enneking said. “We had a group of executives that mobilized to provide a [company] response. It was a bit of a new frontier for us, especially as a new company, deciding to speak up and send a message about this. We worked hard to set the right tone.”
  • It also became clear that a more focused DE&I approach would help the company in these situations and in the day-to-day creation of an inclusive culture.
  • Now, the business has a DE&I team at the ready to drive their strategy forward: its DE&I Council, which meets monthly and focuses on strategic alignment; communications; coaching and training; and metrics and governance.

More diversity in management: Cornerstone Building Brands aspires to build a more diverse and inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the communities where it operates. It is also focused on increasing the number of diverse employees in Cornerstone Building Brands’ management teams.

  • “We have a very diverse frontline population,” Enneking said. “It’s close to 50% frontline employees of color and about 28% women, but we see those numbers decrease in management. The challenge is to bring that same representation into the management.”
  • To engage employees in creating an inclusive culture, the DE&I Council disseminated a survey that led to the creation of four distinct employee resource groups: Women!, Patriots, Pride and Unity. All meet regularly to learn together, plan events, address specific employee concerns and foster mentoring opportunities.
  • Another way forward has been the company’s 2021 signing of the NAM’s Pledge for Action, in which “manufacturers commit to taking 50,000 tangible actions to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities, creating 300,000 pathways to job opportunities for Black people and all people of color.” In the first year after signing this pledge, Cornerstone Building Brands took 44 tangible actions toward achieving its commitment to the pledge and its broader DE&I goals.

How far they’ve come: All of Cornerstone Building Brands job descriptions now contain a DE&I statement that highlights its commitment, and the company recently published its first environmental, social and governance report, which included DE&I initiative details.

  • Cornerstone Building Brands has worked to ensure that its “recruitment processes are bringing in diverse candidates” and that there is pay-scale parity, particularly in direct manufacturing roles, Enneking said.
  • The company also has a reporting mechanism in place for all employees to make leadership aware of potential inclusivity violations or other issues.
  • In addition, the manufacturer has instituted manager and employee DE&I learning modules, which comprise unconscious bias and inclusive leadership training led by professional facilitators, as well as accountability measures.

Making an impact: The work has started to pay off, said Enneking, who added that “there has been an increase” in diverse representation among Cornerstone Building Brands’ management. President and CEO Rose Lee, the first Korean American woman to head a Fortune 1000 company, was recently named a Pinnacle Award recipient by the Asian American Business Development Center. The company also recently hired two new female business unit presidents.

  • The company has also broadened its search parameters in recruiting, Enneking said. “Diversity has many facets, many of which are not visible. We value diversity of thought and perspectives and are more willing to bring in people who may not have been in [our industry] all their lives but who can learn quickly and have transferable skills. In fact, those hires usually bring us a lot of ideas that we didn’t have. Sometimes you need to look outside to get those.”
Press Releases

Manufacturers Urge Swift Resolution to Ongoing Rail Negotiations

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement as negotiators work to reach an agreement between Class I railroads and all labor unions representing the freight rail workforce. Several organizations have not yet ratified the deal tentatively agreed to by union leadership and rail industry representatives in September that delayed the possibility of a strike.

“Manufacturers are urging congressional leaders to be prepared to bring stability and predictability to the economy if a rail strike and shutdown occurs. We already face economic turmoil with rising costs, product shortages and high inflation. Any nationwide rail strike or shutdown will cause even more economic pain. Manufacturers urge all parties to work rapidly—for the good of the country—to conclude this collective bargaining process.”

Background: A rail strike could begin as soon as 12:01 a.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 19. Currently, the majority of the unions representing the rail workers have agreed to extend that deadline to Friday, Dec. 9, though a unanimous decision to maintain the status quo is required for that extension.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, the NAM joined hundreds of other associations in calling on President Biden to ensure a swift resolution and reiterating support for the work of the Presidential Emergency Board, which has aided in the talks.

Currently, the American freight rail network accounts for nearly 40% of total freight volume, and a strike or delay in finalizing a long-term contract would have devastating impacts across surface supply chain networks and economic output.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.9 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Workforce

Phoenix Closures Invests in Diversity and Inclusion

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Manufacturers come from many different communities and backgrounds—and Phoenix Closures, a sixth-generation, family-owned business that makes packaging and closures, wants to make sure that all of them feel welcome in the industry. In the past few years, the company has created a D&I initiative that ensures their employees feel included in and excited about the place where they work. 

Getting the ball rolling: The company began by installing a leader to oversee their D&I efforts and combine programming and support into one place. Vice President of Quality and Corporate Social Responsibility Meena Banasiak—a 2020 honoree at the Women MAKE Awards, formerly known as the STEP Ahead Awards—sees her role not only as that of a leader, but as proof of Phoenix’s commitment.

  • “I’m part of our progress in terms of D&I at Phoenix,” said Banasiak. “This position I am in was created in order to have someone in the role to establish a framework for corporate social responsibility. This position had never previously existed.”
  • “We knew as a business that we were in many ways doing a lot of things that would fall within a D&I program, but without that clear purpose and intention and definitive resources put behind it.”
  • “So, in a very visible and important way, I had the opportunity to be in a position of leadership and join the executive staff as a woman of color and set the course for the nature of this work that we
    ’ve been pursuing.”

Developing programs: The company has created and implemented a range of initiatives that allow employees to connect and contribute.

CSR committee: Phoenix developed an employee resource group that is focused on corporate social responsibility and includes representation from all the company’s operating locations. Employees are encouraged to voice their ideas on the types of programs that could be offered to the workforce, and the group offers tools and resources to help members implement programs at their respective sites.

  • “It’s great to have a way to give people that voice, to make the work environment something
  • that enables us to feel more included,” said Banasiak. “Yes, we’re here to do good work, but we might just be able to have fun while we’re doing it! We want our employees to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work if they want to and develop more profound relationships in the process.”

Parental leave: The company has expanded its parental leave benefits. Today, all full-time employees are eligible for the program, and the benefit applies to the non-birthing parent as well—including in cases of adoption.

  • “There are people who have been able to take advantage of it right away—and just hearing their personal story, and their sense of relief knowing they have this support from their company—it’s unfettered relief,” said Banasiak. “It goes a very long way toward cementing the relationship between employer and employee, when you feel like your employer is invested in you.”

Volunteer time off: Phoenix’s full-time employees are encouraged to take up to eight hours of paid time off per calendar year to volunteer with the charitable organization of their choice—either individually, or as part of a team.

  • “There have been a few different events where a group of employees have gone together, so it simultaneously serves as a teambuilding exercise with a broader impact,” said Banasiak. “At the same time, we get to share the stories of these experiences and celebrate those organizations that our employees find meaningful to them. Excitement breeds further excitement.”

Pledge for Action: Phoenix was a signatory of the NAM’s Pledge for Action, which committed the manufacturing industry to taking 50,000 tangible actions to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities, creating 300,000 pathways to job opportunities for Black people and all people of color, and reflecting the diversity of the overall U.S. workforce by 2030.

Starting small: According to Banasiak, it’s important to be sensitive to needs across the entire company, but also to create small forums where employees can feel comfortable discussing issues. By empowering employees to come forward with ideas, a company can unleash the creativity, energy and enthusiasm of a diverse workforce.

Building the habit: “At first you might be in a place that feels more performative rather than substantive, but it’s still a legitimate starting point,” said Banasiak.

  • “We never before made an intentional effort to acknowledge Hispanic Heritage Month or Black History Month. By now, our employees are creating and hosting their own events—but before that, our first step was literally a single email to the organization.”
  • “I’d argue that first step is every bit as necessary and valid on this journey. Just making that conscious effort—that’s going to be meaningful to someone. It’s necessary to build that habit in small ways to create an environment where ideas start to flow. The motivation builds upon itself, but you have to start somewhere.”

The bottom line: “Results are not instantaneous or something that one person can achieve,” said Banasiak. “It’s about slowly shifting the narrative.”

Business Operations

A Small Manufacturer on What Policymakers Can Do for Her Company

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Courtney Silver runs a precision machining company that has been in business for 75 years, so she knows how fast the manufacturing industry evolves. The Ketchie, Inc., president, who serves as the vice chair of the NAM’s Small and Medium Manufacturers Group, has a clear message for policymakers and manufacturers alike.

  • To stay competitive, “manufacturers must have policies that incentivize us to save for emergencies, like pandemics, and to use profits productively to invest in machines, technologies and people,” she says.
  • “Small manufacturers know what to do, to invest our profits and grow”—and policymakers should let them get on with it.

We caught up with Silver earlier this fall and chatted about her plans for Ketchie, the policies that would support manufacturers’ competitiveness and more.

The history: Seventy-five years ago, her late husband’s grandfather came home from World War II to work in a local textile mill, Silver tells us.

  • The former Air Force captain quickly observed that local manufacturers needed a “job shop” to provide precision machined solutions. In 1947, he founded the company.
  • Since then, and through many upgrades in technology, the business has grown considerably. It now supports several industries, including “textile, rail, heavy machinery, agriculture and industrial equipment,” says Silver.

In the family: Silver joined the business in 2008, then took over as president after her husband passed away in 2014. Through all her years there, she says, “investing in the lives of the people I work with and providing them with opportunities to develop and grow their God-given talents has been what matters the most” to her.

  • That dedication spills outward into the community. Silver and the company are deeply invested in their work with the North Carolina Manufacturing Institute, numerous local schools, the local Boys & Girls Club and the Cooperative Christian Ministries.

What do small manufacturers need? To help small manufacturers stay competitive and keep contributing to their communities, “we need a tax structure that works for us,” says Silver.

  • The 2017 tax reform law benefited Ketchie by allowing large manufacturers to expand, meaning they had more orders for Ketchie. The company was able to hire more workers as well as provide raises and bonuses.
  • However, small manufacturers need further support from policymakers, according to Silver. “Smaller manufacturers have access to less capital,” she explains, so they must often use their profits for crucial short-term investments, like new equipment.
  • But they also need help from policymakers for longer-term efforts, such as saving for emergencies (including pandemics) and using their profits to aggressively attract and retain a high-quality workforce.

The absence of a tax structure that supports all these endeavors together “hinders innovation and growth and limits our ability to compete,” Silver points out.

A promising future: When asked how new technologies are helping small manufacturers innovate, Silver responds enthusiastically: “That’s why I love the industry so much—the machining technology is transformational for small businesses in our industry.”

  • Ketchie has kept up with the latest innovations throughout its history. Back in the 1980s, that meant purchasing its first CNC (computer numerical control) machines for more efficient, precise machining.
  • Today, it’s automation. The company’s first machine-tending collaborative robot will debut on the factory floor in November, taking over machinists’ “least favorite” part of the job—changing parts while the machines run. The robot will free up workers for more challenging and skilled work around the shop, as well as dramatically increase productivity by running unattended after shift hours, Silver says.
  • Technology has “opened up” manufacturing, as she puts it. Automation, 3D printing, additive machining and more have “sped up the lifecycle from the idea to the finished part.”

People first: Technology may be evolving rapidly, but the need for a high-quality workforce remains the same. When asked about her plans for Ketchie’s future, Silver says that “the number-one challenge, again and again, is workforce.”

  • Silver aspires to strengthen Ketchie’s community outreach by teaching semester-long classes in the shop for high school students, which will include mentorships and a character development curriculum along with job shadowing on the shop floor.
  • Ketchie also plans to continue its leadership role in its community as an active member of the school program board, and by continuing to open its doors to tours, interns and apprentices.
  • “Making these long-term investments in our youth, in our industry and in our team is foundational to who we are, and we are thankful for all of the opportunities to help shape our future workforce in manufacturing,” says Silver.

The next generation: For the president of a family company, this question must be inevitable: Will Silver’s children run the business, too?

  • “Time will tell for sure. They both show strong leadership qualities and are interested in what we are accomplishing at Ketchie. My son has a lot of fun with a 3D printer at home, and my daughter already has excellent problem-solving skills. It’s going to be interesting to see!” 

At the NAM: About her work at the NAM, Silver says, “I want to see a genuine opportunity for small and medium manufacturers to grow, thrive and successfully compete.”

  • “Each SMM member should feel truly valued and know they have a place at the NAM. Their story, and what they do every day, matters to manufacturing in America.”
Policy and Legal

Timmons Talks Energy and Workforce in Michigan

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At a time of economic uncertainty, policy leaders must support energy and workforce development initiatives that can bolster the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry. This week, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons traveled to Detroit, Michigan, to share that message at Oakland Community College’s campus in Auburn Hills. The Detroit Economic Club hosted the event.

  • The NAM recently released an updated version of its policy blueprint, “Competing to Win,” which Timmons referenced in his remarks.

Energy: Timmons noted that access to abundant energy is a national security issue, especially in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and highlighted manufacturers’ all-of-the-above energy strategy. He also laid out some of the key policies that will help achieve manufacturers’ goals.

  • Timmons argued in favor of permitting reform; removing regulatory barriers; promoting reasonable access to federal lands; deploying energy-efficient technology at home and around the world; expediting processes for exporting energy technologies; rejecting new taxes on energy manufacturers; and fixing the tax code to preserve full expensing for equipment and 100% full expensing for research and development.

Workforce: Timmons spoke to the need for new talent in the manufacturing industry and called on young people to be a part of manufacturing’s future. He also laid out the NAM’s workforce policy agenda.

  • Timmons advocated for expanding the Pell Grant program to include accelerated education for in-demand skills; increasing the level of tax-exempt educational assistance from employers; investing in apprenticeship models; and fixing the broken immigration system to alleviate visa backlogs, bring employer-based immigrants to the United States and provide certainty for Dreamers.

Our approach: “Americans want practical solutions,” said Timmons. “They don’t want to have to choose between the extremes. They don’t want to punish businesses for being successful any more than they want to punish businesses for being good citizens. So, in this season of campaigns, manufacturers have our own campaign to run. It is a campaign for a manufacturing competitiveness agenda, for restoring faith in what’s possible.”

The bottom line: “Since America’s founding, manufacturers have led amid pandemics and disasters, through wars and recessions, during peace and prosperity,” said Timmons. “And we will keep leading for centuries to come, staying true to the values that have made America exceptional and kept manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.”

In case you missed it: Timmons has been on the road promoting manufacturers’ priorities and the NAM’s competitiveness agenda to leaders across the country. You can catch up on his earlier speeches in Phoenix, Arizona, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Renew Call for Action on Immigration

NAM CEO says broken system is harming manufacturers’ competitiveness

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons addressed the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturers’ Summit today, where he made another call for policymakers to act on immigration, saying it is time to “fix this problem now.” Timmons called on Congress to act in the year-end government funding bill.  His remarks come as the NAM rereleased its immigration proposal “A Way Forward.”

Excerpts from Timmons’ speech:

“First and foremost, this is a humanitarian issue. We see it play out in tragic ways—including family separations at the border and confusion as families seek to reunite following a harrowing journey.”

“But as manufacturing and business leaders, we also know there are serious economic consequences. Research and development—the cornerstone of innovation and our industry’s success—depends on access to the best and brightest from across the world.”

“The broken immigration status quo is also preventing us from growing our talent pool, leaving jobs unfilled. There are around six job seekers for every 10 job openings in the U.S., and our population growth is slowing. Last year, the U.S. population grew at its slowest rate ever.”

“Last year’s infrastructure law and this year’s CHIPS and Science Act prove that Congress can still get bipartisan things done—and immigration should be next on the list, whether it’s one bill or multiple bills. We would absolutely support a long-term, comprehensive legislative fix that addresses all of these issues, but we also want to be realists. We have a workforce crisis that needs to be addressed now, so let’s take action where we can. We want to focus on the art of the possible. One approach would be to address some of these issues in the year-end government funding bill.”

First released in 2019 and updated to reflect current challenges, the NAM’s “A Way Forward” proposal identifies seven core areas of action for Congress and the administration to take:

  • Strengthen border security through physical infrastructure and best-in-class technology.
  • Prioritize America’s workforce needs through reforms to the legal immigration system.
  • Reform nonimmigrant visas and temporary worker programs to reflect employer needs, including a fund to support STEM programs so that we can reduce the need for these types of visas in the future.
  • Provide a permanent and compassionate solution for populations facing uncertainty, including the Dreamers, who were brought here as children and know no other home.
  • Reform asylum and refugee programs for a more orderly and humane system, including asylum standards consistent with our values.
  • Fix the problem of the unauthorized population with a firm reset, requiring an orderly process of review, including financial penalties for those who seek to become legal and deportation for those who choose to stay in the shadows.
  • Strengthen the rule of law so that it is respected and followed by all, with a focus on gang violence and also on requiring localities to cooperate to advance the enforcement of immigration priorities.

View “A Way Forward” in full here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

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