Do you remember that ’70s television ad that told us to “look for the union label?” It reminded us that it was important to buy products that were made in America. I can see now why the unions felt the need to advertise the importance of buying products made here and not overseas. These days, it’s really hard to find something made in this country. And the loss of manufacturing has contributed to the loss of our middle class.
Growing up in a middle class suburb of Los Angeles, our elementary school field trips included visits to the local Huffy bike factory in Azusa and the Lawry’s California Center, the spice packing plant just north of downtown. Sadly, both factories are gone. The old Huffy building either is or is next to a Costco — Huffy bike production was moved to Ohio, then eventually to China — and the Lawry’s plant is part Home Depot and part Los Angeles River Visitor Center.
We all want to pay less for the products we buy, but less is not always better. When manufacturing moves overseas, we lose jobs here. There is also the environmental impact of shipping all those consumer products across an ocean. Additionally, overseas factories don’t have the same regulations that our factories do – this could result in the use of chemicals or materials that are harmful to us or the environment, not to mention the lack of control over the treatment of employees.
I am by no means an isolationist, but I do think we all need to be a little more aware of how and what we buy.
Tags: American, artfire, Etsy, ILGWU, International Ladies Garment Workers Union, manufacturing, middle-class, union, work