Skip to main content

Scotch kisses on See's Candy packaging.
Strengthening the American manufacturing sector may seem like one of those things that you, as an individual, can't do anything about. While it's true that action by the government to encourage and reward American manufacturing is badly needed, what you can do is more than zero, and the holidays are a good opportunity to put that into practice. According to ABC News:
The average American will spend almost $750 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $586 billion, the National Retail Federation estimates.

If each of us spent just $64 on American-made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be 200,000 new jobs.

Best of all would be to buy union-made, American-made gifts or holiday treats, and the AFL-CIO has been offering suggestions. If clothes are on your shopping list, brands like OshKosh B'gosh, Brooks Brothers and Joseph Abboud are union-made in America, as are Naturalizer, Nunn Bush and Red Wing shoes. Beauty products by Avon, Dove, Old Spice and Revlon make the list.

Okay, but you're not going to buy the kids some Old Spice. Happily, there's a long list of games made by union workers in the United States—Candy Land, Clue, Monopoly, Operation, Pictionary, Scrabble, Taboo, Twister and more—as well as athletic equipment by American Athletic, Louisville Slugger and Standard Golf. Shopping for a sweet tooth? There's a lot of great union-made candy, and baking recipes using union-made goods as well.

But while spending your money on union-made goods is best, American workers—including union members—will do better if the country has a strong manufacturing base and jobs are kept here, rather than being sent to wherever in the world wages and working conditions are worst. The Alliance for American Manufacturing has been highlighting a different American-made gift idea every day, from dog bones to cast-iron skillets in the shape of the 50 states to leather goods and jewelry and wall decals and much more. ABC News also has a giant list of made in America gift ideas.

You can also support your small local craftspeople. Or, hey, the many, many amazing craftspeople of the Daily Kos community.

One more way to shop in an American-worker-friendly way is to give kids books and movies that will tell them the stories they won't learn in school, about how kids like them used to work in factories and it was workers coming together in unions, not benevolence from above, that improved things. Stories that focus on solidarity and collective action and the notion that sometimes you need to break the rules and to fight to move society forward. I wrote about more than 20 such books and movies for kids last year. And as an added benefit, many books are printed in the United States, too.

So if you're taking your holiday shopping down to the wire (like I am), consider these ideas to strengthen the nation's workers, manufacturing sector and economy.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site