Man...All's I know is for most of a decade manufacturing plants were closing down without mercy or sign of slowing around here. Every day in the papers for years. And for years and years it was another plant closing down, moving out, downsizing. Brunswick. The century old paper mill. 100 jobs lost here, 300 jobs lost there. Constantly. All the time. ALL THE TIME. For a DECADE and longer.
By early 2010 the U3 unemployment rate here was 15.6% with the U6 unemployment well into the high 20s.
By late 2010 unemployment actually started to DROP, in part because of a re-emergence of the US auto industry. Car plants were actually OPENING in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana as a DIRECT RESULT of this administration's policies. Not one but TWO advanced battery manufacturing plants opened in West Michigan in the Holland area as a direct result of Federal investment, with a third West Michigan plant planned for Musekgon, Michigan.
Thousands of jobs from a Great Lakes restoration initiative championed by the Obama administration.
Renewable energy projects and green jobs....and an ACTUAL electric car market opening up, and electric car charging stations.
Holy crap, there are factories OPENING. There are new manufacturing parks planned for the area. HOLY CRAP, the old paper mill site is going to be re-developed....I have known this region my ENTIRE LIFE as on life support, struggling to reinvent itself and lure new industry and jobs. A NEW LINE for cars opening up HERE in MICHIGAN? Nearly unheard of! Now it's happening several times per year.
And somebody wants to convince me Obama is not a positive force for labor and manufacturing?
I can't even comprehend it. The difference between what was then and what is now is radically different. Night and day.
Manufacturing...MAKING things...has been a large focus of this presidency and it has helped the manufacturing states which were in a FREE FALL for a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long time.
If the prez wanted to kill unions and manufacturing...he could have done it.
One of the best and fastest ways to shatter unions in America would have been to let the Domestic auto industries shrivel up and die. You can bet our Conservative pals in Washington and the talking heads were all a-drool with vulturous glee at the very notion of GM and Chrysler going belly up in early 2009, hacking a massive notch out of the UAW along with it.
The supposed neo-Liberal dream of "wiping out the labor movement" could have made some huge progress all in one fell swoop.
Fortunately, our president didn't let that happen, and instead the UAW became large shareholders of the companies with a majority ownership of Chrysler and a commanding stake in General Motors. Make no mistake, these are now companies with huge levels of union ownership .
The United Auto Workers control about 65 percent of Chrysler and 17.5 percent of General Motors.
And it shows in the choices GM has been making in terms of where to build cars, with the Korean Chevy Aveo line shut down and the Michigan made Chevy Sonic to take its place, along with the Ohio made Chevy Cruze which gets 42 MPG and has an unbelievably good crash test rating.
Demonizing the president as anti-labor is beyond overblown.
Of course, Unions have been very interested in the Keystone XL pipeline, and our President has to make a decision of who to cast overboard this time: Labor or Environment. Whatever the final decision, there will be something for somebody to be upset about, and the complaints will be louder than the cheers, as tends to happen. If the pipeline moves forward he's beholden to the Koch brothers and big interests, and if it doesn't he's anti-labor.
Is that a lament? No. It's just a fact.
There's always going to be some genuine grievance to discuss in an academic manner as though it exists in an isolated environment.
We're in hard times, facing folks who actually DO want to destroy the American middle class. Obama is not one of them.