Policy and Legal

NAM Pushes Back on PRO Act

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The NAM is speaking out against H.R. 842/S. 420, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

Impacting workers: The bill would remove the right to a secret ballot in union elections, allow unions to access personal employee information in union-organizing drives, prevent workers from working as independent contractors and force workers to pay union dues even if they do not support the union.

Impacting businesses: The bill would also increase liability and penalties, threaten supply chains and create an adverse relationship between employers and employees—while also making it harder for businesses to access legal counsel.

Our take: “The PRO Act is a misguided attempt to fundamentally restructure American workplaces and would infringe on workers’ rights to a secret ballot, workplace democracy and personal privacy,” said NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling in a letter to Congress.

  • “This bill is being considered during an unprecedented global pandemic, in which manufacturing workers are supplying Americans with the medicine, protective equipment and goods necessary to defeat COVID-19… It is critical that Congress consider policies that support manufacturers in the fight against COVID-19, but the PRO Act would do the opposite.”

In other congressional news, the NAM threw its support behind H.R. 5, the Equality Act of 2021, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system.

  • “Manufacturers have known for years that an inclusive workplace with meaningful anti-discrimination protections helps them hire and retain the best possible workforce,” said NAM Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Linda Kelly in a letter to the House of Representatives. “Individuals can only thrive when they can bring their whole selves to work. Manufacturers can only attract talented employees when those employees feel safe from discrimination, harassment or worse at work and in their communities.”
Press Releases

NAM Joins Biden Administration in Call to Arms Against COVID

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement following further action from the White House on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No American is safe from COVID-19 until all Americans are safe, so manufacturers are proud to join the Biden administration in this call to arms. The NAM and manufacturers in the United States are absolutely committed to being the solution to end this pandemic, save lives and safeguard workers. We’re not just making safe and effective vaccines and treatments and other necessary provisions to get us through this crisis, but we’re also putting the full force of the ‘arsenal of democracy’ to work in promoting science-based actions to get us to the light at the end of this dark tunnel of hardship and heartbreak for millions of Americans. We’re resolute in our determination to finish this fight, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration, members of Congress, public health officials and state and local governments and agencies to defeat COVID-19.”

Background: As an association that represents more than 12 million workers and is made up of a network of more than 130,000 companies, the NAM has met this commitment with deeds. Our Creators Respond campaign has been non-stop on social media, public airwaves and in manufacturing operations since March 2020 promoting face masks and other safety measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our ‘This Is Our Shot’ project is taking direct aim at the problem of vaccine hesitancy among manufacturing communities, which have a higher rate of vaccine hesitancy than the general population, with research and resources for employers to protect their workers and communities, public health messages and materials for individuals and families to bolster confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. We also have a Yellow and Red Ribbon initiative to get every vaccinated manufacturer and American to help their family, coworkers and community believe that we can emerge from this pandemic if we care for each other.


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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Share Biden Administration’s Goal of Strengthening Manufacturing Supply Chain

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after President Joe Biden signed an executive order on supply chains.

“Manufacturers have led the nation’s response to COVID-19 by ramping up production of critical supplies, developing treatments and vaccines and continuing to produce the essentials for daily life. But the pandemic has also exposed serious challenges facing supply chains and the serious consequences when they are disrupted. We are encouraged to see that the Biden administration is taking action to address these challenges. Last year, the NAM released policy proposals for ‘Strengthening the Manufacturing Supply Chain,’ and our plan can continue to serve as a roadmap as we move forward while ensuring that we do not close off access to critical components or resources that our lifesaving and life-changing products require.

“The administration’s goal of increasing manufacturing investment in the United States is one we share. And their focus on key sectors, like the pharmaceutical manufacturers whose incredible innovation is saving lives and arming us against COVID-19, will help us emerge stronger from this crisis. We look forward to working with the Biden administration to bolster supply chains and create new job opportunities in America.”


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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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.

Policy and Legal

What to Expect on Trade Policy in 2021

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There’s a new administration in town, and the NAM also has a new trade policy leader—who is already out promoting manufacturers’ agenda. Ken Monahan became the NAM’s Vice President of International Economic Affairs in January after nearly six years at the organization, and he is perfectly equipped to represent the industry on these crucial issues.

Monahan recently spoke to us about the organization’s priorities for the year ahead. Here’s what you need to know.

The big picture: “The NAM’s priority is to stand up for manufacturers and manufacturing workers in the United States by ensuring that our trading partners hold up their end of the bargain, while also working to open markets for American-made exports and promote U.S. supply chains,” says Monahan.

USMCA and Trade Enforcement: The NAM achieved a victory when Congress passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but although the agreement is already being implemented, the NAM’s work is not yet finished. The focus now turns to ensuring that Mexico and Canada follow through on their USMCA commitments, while also holding other U.S. partners accountable as well.

  • “Manufacturers continue to face trade barriers and other measures in countries with which the United States has trade agreements, notably in Mexico,” said Monahan. “We stand ready to work with the Biden administration and Congress to ensure that U.S. trade agreement partners treat our industry fairly, which will support manufacturers and manufacturing jobs here in America through an increase in exports.”

China: Given the rise of China, U.S. ties to the country and the size of the Chinese market, we need a strong strategy going forward. The United States must put consistent, targeted pressure on China – directly and with allies – to reverse its illegal subsidies, intellectual property theft and discriminatory industrial policies, says Monahan.

  • “We must work with allies to set a clear, strong strategy on China, leveraging our strengths to halt problematic Chinese behaviors and level the playing field for manufacturers,” said Monahan. “We need strong American leadership to ensure that the United States – and not China – is writing the rules of global trade to benefit manufacturers and employees in America.”

Opening New Markets: Beyond China, it is vital that U.S. policymakers work to open new markets and ensure that the rules-based global trading system allows manufacturers to confront challenges in markets around the world, says Monahan.

  • “We need to revitalize the rules-based international trading system and pursue new trade agreements to reverse unfair barriers, enhance the role of free market forces, promote respect for the rule of law and propel manufacturing innovation around the world,” said Monahan. “This is all the more important given that our competitors are pursuing their own deals with countries with which the United States does not have trade agreements.”

The bottom line: “As we engage with the Biden administration and legislators of both parties to promote a trade policy that opens markets for American-made exports and promotes U.S. supply chains, we must put a spotlight on the American manufacturing employees whose jobs depend on trade,” said Monahan. “We want to tell their stories. We want to share at every opportunity how trade is lifting up these employees and their communities. That’s our focus, and we’re excited to get to work alongside the NAM’s members.”

Policy and Legal

NAM Presses FCC for Broadband Support

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As President Biden pushes for a majority of elementary schools to be open five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office, the Federal Communications Commission is engaged in an important effort to ensure students learning remotely are still connected to their classrooms.

The big shift: The FCC is updating the E-Rate program, which supports broadband access for schools and libraries, to allow funds to be used for at-home learning—and the NAM has advocated for this change.

Why it matters: While President Biden is aiming to send more kids back to school soon, it’s clear that they need more assistance while they are still at home. In addition, high school students may stay home for longer than elementary school kids (due to higher risks of contagion among older students) and thus require longer-term support.

Our view: “Ensuring the FCC’s current programs for schools and libraries are adapting to meet these new remote needs is of critical importance, and the cost of not responding to the changing environment is high,” said NAM Director of Innovation Policy Stephanie Hall in a comment letter to the FCC. “The FCC should coordinate with the Department of Education on necessary revisions to the E-Rate program or to build consensus on new alternatives that can close the digital divide.”

In related news, the FCC held a roundtable last Friday to discuss how to quickly implement the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program—another important initiative for manufacturing communities. Established late last year, the initiative allocates $3.2 billion for discounts on internet service for people who are struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • What it includes: The program offers up to $50 per month for eligible consumers and up to $75 per month for eligible consumers on Tribal Lands. Some eligible participants can also receive discounts on personal computers or laptops.

The last word: As Hall says, “Manufacturers recognize that enhanced broadband investment and the growth of next generation wireless networks are critical both for the current challenges in COVID-19 and to support continued U.S. technological leadership.”

Business Operations

What Manufacturers Should Know About Vaccines

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As we wait to get our shots, many people still have questions. Does it matter which vaccine I get? What safety precautions should I continue to take? We talked to highly cited infectious disease expert Dr. Aaron Richterman of Penn Medicine to get some answers to these very real concerns.

Which vaccine? As Richterman tells us, the priority for vaccines is preventing bad outcomes—death and severe illness. And the good news? “The really, really good news is that all of these vaccines that have been tested so far—all of them—prevent severe outcomes.” That list includes vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax. (Only Pfizer and Moderna are approved in the U.S. so far, while the J&J vaccine is expected to be approved soon.)

  • And the clincher? “When you put all the trials together [including the Russian vaccine trial], there are somewhere around 80,000 to 90,000 people total who have received the vaccine, and none of them have required hospitalization—and none have died,” says Richterman.

Let’s talk specifics: What about the different numbers we’ve been seeing? As Richterman points out, we’re all used to seeing different headline numbers—95% effective, or 72%, and so forth. But what does that really mean?

  • What those numbers represent is the “reduction in any symptomatic illness at all,” he explains. But the main thing we should be concerned about is the prevention of severe illness or death—which all the vaccines do extremely well.

When should I get it? As soon as possible, says Richterman. “At this point in time, and probably for the next four to six months in this country, the benefit of getting the first vaccine available to you is going to outweigh any potential benefit from waiting for the next one.” If you are offered an FDA-approved vaccine now, he says: “take it.”

What you should know: Here are some key facts to keep in mind as you read media coverage of vaccinations, says Richterman.

  • Quality: “The quality of evidence underpinning the data for these vaccines […] is grade A plus, top of the line.”
  • Safety: “These are extremely safe vaccines, among the safest out there. Some people will have temporary side effects, but they are very safe.”
  • Prevention of severe outcomes: These vaccines prevent severe outcomes to a “tremendous” degree, Richterman stresses. “If these vaccines can take COVID-19 down to something asymptomatic, or something more like a cold, that’s a big win.”

And lastly, do you have to wear masks and socially distance after being vaccinated? “Especially right now, when there’s a lot of community transmission,” Richterman says, “and we’re still learning about new variants, it’s a good idea to keep things as safe as possible.” However, “people should be informed that the vaccine reduces their risk and the risk for those around them.”

Further reading/viewing: Check out the NAM’s project to increase vaccine acceptance, This Is Our Shot, as well as its continued efforts to promote the use of face coverings.

Business Operations

Caterpillar Powers COVID-19 Relief Efforts

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Manufacturers have pitched in remarkably to help us all through COVID-19—by making things you might expect to be essential (masks, gowns) and things you might not (wire racks, foam). One major manufacturer, Caterpillar, has contributed to the relief efforts in a wide variety of ways across the country and around the world. Here are some of its contributions.

Heating hospital tents: Caterpillar generators made a key appearance in Atlanta during the worst of the 2020 spring surge. Local hospitals set up testing sites outdoors so they could admit only confirmed COVID-19 cases, thus keeping noninfected patients safer from exposure. But to do that, they needed power.

Cat® Dealer Yancey Power Systems provided exactly the power they needed, after thoroughly evaluating the sites, making a detailed plan for servicing them safely and creating an easy set-up process.

Helping to make face shields: A Peoria manufacturer of face shields was missing a critical component—and local hospitals desperately needed those shields. The manufacturer called a Caterpillar distribution center at about 9:00 one morning and had what it needed just an hour later.

Donating materials: And speaking of face shields, a Caterpillar facility in Brazil donated production materials for face shields to local manufacturers, so that doctors in their hard-hit region would be better protected.

Feeding people: The Caterpillar team in Seguin, Texas, hosted two huge food distribution events in 2020. The event in May provided more than 700 families with enough food for two weeks, while in December, the Caterpillar Seguin team and the local food bank provided food to 955 families from 10 different counties.

Powering tugboats: Remember the rousing scene in March when the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, sailed into New York Harbor? You may not recall the two tugboats that helped it dock, but they were essential. And inside those tugboats were two Caterpillar engines, which ensured the boats could serve their city when it needed them.

Providing support: The Caterpillar Foundation also committed $10 million to support global and local COVID-19 response activities. Together with the incredible outpouring of support from employees and retirees through the Foundation’s special 2:1 match, these contributions have helped keep communities safe and strong.

The last word: “Our employees, dealers and customers around the globe are doing what they can to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and ensure essential work continues,” says Kathryn Karol, Caterpillar vice president of global government and corporate affairs. “They truly embody our values in action, finding ways to help each other and their communities during these difficult days.”


Diversity and Inclusion: What You Need to Know

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If you’re a manufacturer looking to begin—or improve—your diversity and inclusion efforts, you’ll need some expert advice. That’s why The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers—hosted a virtual summit recently on D&I development, drawing together a variety of experts in one comprehensive event. Now you can watch the event online, and to get you started, we’ll give you a quick overview.

Why it matters: Manufacturing workers are deeply diverse in all sorts of ways: age, gender, race and ethnicity, ability and sexual orientation—not to mention education, life experience and socioeconomic background. To be competitive, businesses must be able to connect with the skills and experiences of a wide range of communities.

The main events: The first day of the summit was broken down into several “dimensions” of D&I, each with its own panel of experts:

  • Race Dimension: Representatives from HBCU Connect, Pfizer and Ingredion discussed how leaders can promote racial equity in their companies and communities—including by setting measurable hiring goals and increasing internal candidate development.
  • Ability Dimension: Panelists from Autism Speaks, Stanley Black & Decker and Lee Container Corporation discussed their work with manufacturers to create 1 million employment and leadership opportunities by 2025 for people with autism and intellectual and/or developmental differences. The panelists highlighted data showing how neuro-diverse individuals strengthen the workforce overall.
  • Sexual Orientation Dimension: Representatives of Out Leadership and Dow spoke about how manufacturers can stand up for LGBT+ equality and D&I overall. They recommended supporting LGBT+ equality by being vocal allies and signing on to court cases that protect LGBT+ rights. They also talked about why bringing your whole self to the workplace is critical.
  • Military Dimension: Panelists from the MI, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Johnson & Johnson discussed how manufacturers can connect directly to transitioning service members, veterans, the National Guard, reservists and active-duty military spouses, including through programs like the MI’s Heroes MAKE America—an integrated training, certification and career-readiness initiative.
  • Gender Dimension: Panelists from the MI, Fresenius Medical Care North America and BASF Corporation discussed the steps companies can take to support women in manufacturing—such as creating supportive women-led networks within their businesses and ensuring uniforms are available in female sizes. They also noted the critical progress made so far by programs like the MI’s STEP Women’s Initiative and through local employee resource groups.
  • Age Dimension: With one-quarter of the manufacturing workforce over 55 years old, manufacturers must adapt to the needs of older workers. Panelists from AARP, ALOM and Winton Machine Company discussed the importance of two-way learning and how creating mentor–mentee relationships between younger and older employees can build a stronger workforce.

And that’s not all. . . Day Two featured an executive panel titled “Voices from Leadership,” with leaders from the MI, Arconic, Intel Corporation and Deloitte. It also included a goals-oriented panel called “Building D&I Into Team and Individual Goals,” featuring speakers from the MI, BP America, Trane Technologies and Covestro, which focused on how to put this work into practice.

The last word: “We need to close the racial inequities and the gaps that we have in our society because it is the right thing to do, but it is also the economic imperative for our sector,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “We need more people—and the workforce of the future is going to look different than the workforce of today.”

Press Releases

Timmons Celebrates Clark as U.S. Chamber’s Next CEO, Honors Donohue’s Legacy

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement following the announcement of Suzanne Clark to succeed Tom Donohue as CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Congratulations to my friend Suzanne Clark on her appointment to lead the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Extraordinarily well respected by her peers, fiercely dedicated to the success of American enterprise and constantly guided by a clear moral compass, she’s long been a strong advocate in the association community. And now, as she steps up as the Chamber’s new CEO, the business association community will be turning to her for inspiration and guidance as we all chart the way forward during this consequential moment in our nation’s history.

“More than ever, our country is counting on the business community to lead—to be part of the solution in healing the divisions in America, in defeating COVID-19 and in rebuilding our economy. We are being called upon to be champions for the values that make the United States exceptional—free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity. And perhaps like no time before, we have a critical role to play in safeguarding our precious American democracy. Knowing Suzanne’s firm belief in this mission, I look forward to working alongside her in the years ahead.

“The NAM and the Chamber have long enjoyed a special relationship, sharing many state and national industry association partners and working together to advance policies that create opportunities for America’s manufacturing workers. Under Suzanne’s leadership, I have no doubt that our partnership will continue to thrive and grow even stronger.

“I also congratulate Tom Donohue on a storied career. He is a true friend and has been a valued mentor. I’ve learned so much from him through the years. Tom is an institution, and he leaves a formidable legacy of growth and success as a champion of American business. I wish him great happiness in his retirement and look forward to the time when we can all gather together and raise a glass to his phenomenal contributions.”


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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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.


The NAM and PTC Launch the “Makers Series”

The NAM’s creative shop, always on the cutting edge, is bringing you something new: a collaboration with PTC to showcase the digital transformation in manufacturing. Today, the NAM and PTC are launching a series of co-branded videos to show both manufacturers and the public what the future will look like.

Watch: Before we go any further, take a few minutes to watch the first video in this series. In it, robotics company Hirebotics talks about how PTC’s Onshape cloud-based system allows it to design innovative welding robots that can be directed by a smartphone—and hired out to whatever company needs them.

The background: Over the past year, PTC has become a more visible presence to NAM members as a national sponsor of the association, expanding the NAM’s support of manufacturers in the United States and helping companies capitalize on digital technologies.

But the origins of this collaboration go back further than that. This sponsorship is a continuation of NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons’ “2020 Vision,” which he outlined back in 2015. Timmons envisioned turning the NAM into a “one-stop shop” for manufacturers—in advocacy, workforce development, legal action, news and more. Now, with PTC’s help, the NAM is giving voice (and visuals) to the industry’s future in more ways.

And there’s more . . . This series isn’t the only product of the collaboration—PTC President and CEO Jim Heppelmann has lent his expertise to the NAM’s board meetings and Leading Edge events, most recently giving a keynote address at the virtual Leading Edge Supply Chain Forum. Those of you interested in the business implications of the internet of things, augmented reality and the emergence of SaaS-based industrial solutions won’t want to miss his appearances in the future.

PTC says: Mike DiTullio, PTC’s president of SaaS business and an NAM board member, said of the partnership, “By partnering with the NAM on the Makers Series, we hope to inspire manufacturers with stories of how software is empowering manufacturers to transform and drive outcomes never thought imaginable. We are proud to be a member of the NAM, and even more proud to support the manufacturers of America.”

The NAM says: Timmons said of the partnership, “Through the Makers Series, PTC is providing powerful thought leadership, showcasing the incredible technologies that define modern manufacturing. We’re grateful that they are sharing their expertise and sponsoring this exciting initiative. They have created a model that demonstrates what the NAM is capable of producing alongside our members.”

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