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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Buy American

Buying holiday gifts made in America can help create jobs

Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by Laura Clawson

ABC News issues a challenge:
If every American spent $64 on something made in America, we could create 200,000 jobs right now.
That might sound like a lot to spend until we heard that the average American spends $700 on Christmas or holiday gifts.
So where will you spend your money this year?

They offer a map and a long list of companies that make giftable products in the United States, from Slinky to Wilson Footballs to Yankee Candle to Tom Bihn bags to Room & Board furniture to Jelly Belly. They're still adding companies to the list, which is far from comprehensive. For instance, they don't include Marble King—that West Virginia company's president spoke at Netroots Nation last summer. They don't include New Balance, which makes some of its shoes in the U.S.

The ABC list includes a number of products made by union workers, but you often can't tell. The United Food and Commercial Workers offer a list of products they make. Union Plus offers lists of candy and snack foods and beers.

I would also point out that, based on an inspection of my shelves, many books are printed in the United States. That includes the children's books about labor I wrote about a couple weeks ago. It includes Jennifer Weiner's Best Friends Forever, Lemony Snicket's A Bad Beginning, the Fug Girls' Spoiled, Robin Goldstein's The Wine Trials, Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System, George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords and Ellen Schultz's Retirement Heist. In other words, if you're stuck for Made in America gifts, there are books that suit a range of tastes and interests that were printed (and in many cases written) here. And you can buy them from a unionized bookstore like Powell's.
Or buy those books from your local bookstore, and consider other local gifts: the baker in your town whose Christmas cookies are maybe better than the ones you don't have time to bake anyway, the people at the local craft fair.
There are lots of options out there for American-made, union-made, local gifts that will support and create jobs here—and good jobs, manufacturing jobs, union jobs, jobs in your community, at that. It's worth a little thought and effort.