Upon seeing the region's unemployment numbers, one can't help but wonder what has happened to our jobs? Our area is not alone in contemplating the same question. I am sure the question is being asked throughout our country. Let's examine exactly what has happened to our jobs.
When you go shopping, do you ever look at the labels, especially on clothes? Have you noticed that it is becoming more difficult to find a label that says "Made in America?" Yes, it is becoming ever more of a challenge to find the "Made in America" tag on items from clothing to automobiles. The cheap labor of other countries has enticed corporations to move jobs overseas to capitalize their revenue, all at the expense of our own workers and our economy.
Jobs that were once being performed by U.S. workers are ever increasingly being outsourced offshore. The huge export of American jobs (some 6 million manufacturing jobs in the past decade) by U.S. corporations has become a focal point of national politics, as well it should.
There is a swelling of a grassroots effort to turn that around and bring jobs back to the U.S. People are finally realizing that we have to do something about the imports. We can all join this effort. The first place we can do that is to look at labels and seek to purchase only items made in the U.S. Secondly, we can encourage lawmakers to pass legislation protecting our local workforce by discouraging outsourcing of jobs, keeping our jobs in our communities.
In closing, I encourage everyone to "Buy American."
Brian K. Stanley
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brian Stanley is President of the Parkersburg Area Labor Council.