Saturday, May 22, 2010

Clifton on the Disconnect between Findlay and Washington

"I was born in Laurel, Mississippi. I have been in labor all of my life. I started working at a Chrysler plant when I was 18. Now, I work as a laborer for the Cooper Tire and Rubber Company in Findlay, Ohio. I have been there for 28 years. Findlay is a big manufacturing town. We have Whirlpool and Marathon Oil, in addition to some smaller, non-union plants.

"I am here in Washington, as part of the Steelworkers Union, to promote green industry to help get us off foreign oil and promote American jobs. I come here pretty regularly to help promote our issues and share the realities of jobs leaving the United States with people in Washington. I really think that a lot of people in this town don't really understand the realities of what happens when manufacturing leaves American cities. Washington never fully depended on industry, so it is hard to feel its impact here. 

"There is a town about 20 miles from where I live called Fostoria. It used to have more industry than Findlay. There were 1,000 workers at the Ford spark plug plant, 1,100 workers at the Chrysler plant, 1,500 workers at the Union Carbide plant, 300 workers at Grey printing, and many others. All of those jobs have now gone overseas and the town is dead. People in Washington need to know about this stuff and take action to stop it from happening again and again. 

"There is so much potential in this great country of ours, but sometimes the policy makers here forget about that when they are looking for cheap foreign labor or foreign oil. As long as there remains a disconnect between the Findlays and Fostorias of America and Washington on our nation's priorities, we will continue to come here to support American manufacturing and American workers."

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