“So let us never forget: much of what we take for granted -- the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, health insurance, paid leave, pensions, Social Security, Medicare -- they all bear the union label. It was the American worker -- men and women just like you -- who returned from World War II to make our economy the envy of the world. It was labor that helped build the largest middle class in history. Even if you're not a union member, every American owes something to America's labor movement.”
Yesterday, during a Labor Day speech at an AFL-CIO picnic in Cincinnati, President Obama announced that Ron Bloom would serve as the Administration’s Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy. Bloom also retains his role as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned to the President’s Task Force on the Automotive Industry.
The latest development could be the first step towards a cabinet level department that looks after U.S. manufacturing interests and the middle class jobs it once created. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world that lacks such a department to coordinate laws, tariffs and research to protect and create jobs.
The move follows the revelation on Friday that U.S. unemployment had reached almost 10% nationally, the highest rate in 26 years, with no recovery for workers predicted until next year, at the earliest. If you take into account people who have stopped looking for work, are underemployed, or are involuntary part time contractors, the number could be as high as twice that or more, according to critics.
President Obama said, “Last week we learned that our manufacturing sector expanded for the first time in 18 months and had the highest monthly output in two years. It’s a sign that we’re on the right track to economic recovery, but that we still have a long way to go. That’s why I’ve asked Ron Bloom to help coordinate my Administration’s manufacturing policy. Distinguished by his extraordinary service on the Auto Task Force and his extensive experience with both business and labor, Ron has the knowledge and experience necessary to lead the way in creating the good-paying manufacturing jobs of the future. We must do more to harness the power of American ingenuity and productivity so that we can put people back to work and unleash our full economic potential.”
Bloom will work with the National Economic Council on policy development and strategic planning for the President’s agenda to revitalize the manufacturing sector. He will work with departments and agencies across the administration – including the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, Energy, and Labor – to integrate existing programs and develop new initiatives affecting the manufacturing sector.