America’s Pastime is Still American-Made

Graham Turner Intern, AAM

Baseball is back! Today is Opening Day of Major League Baseball, the earliest start date in The Show’s history. In addition to the head start, all 30 teams will play on Opening Day this year. The new season begins at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time with the Miami Marlins hosting the Chicago Cubs.

For a sport that’s been historically dubbed as our National Pastime, baseball still lives up to its atmosphere of patriotism. But is the equipment that our idolized athletes rely on to perform still Made in America?

With the nationwide breadth of activity and competition baseball commands, it’s harder and harder to find products that are entirely made in the United States. Hall-of-Famer Leo Durocher once said, “There are only five things you can do in baseball: run, throw, catch, hit, and hit with power.” Here’s a quick guide of American-made gear to help you do just that.

Bats: This product is about as synonymous with baseball as ice is to ice hockey. The almighty Louisville Slugger and its Kentucky-born brand still operate and manufacture in the United States, helping MLB all-stars like Ryan Zimmerman chalk up hits. It's also union-made, by United Steelworkers Local 1693.

Balls: Rawlings is the supplier of all baseballs used in the Major and Minor Leagues. Although founded and headquartered in Missouri, the company's official game balls are now manufactured in Costa Rica.

Bases: Schutt makes all the bases used in the MLB in Litchfield, Ill.

Gloves: There’s a lot of choices here, but many pros use Rawlings’ gloves. While the company's larger market production has diversified overseas, Rawlings’ pro and custom models are made in Missouri. You can even have your glove tailor-made to fit your hand, just like National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Alternatively, Nokona Ballgloves out of Texas offer handcrafted gloves that are 100 percent American-made.

Protection: This is another area where the mass market has opted to produce overseas. But Schutt Sports still sells helmets, catcher’s pads, and other gear that’s been made in the United States. Just make sure to check the label before you buy.

Cleats: New Balance, headquartered in Boston, boasts some of the best baseball cleats in the game. A company committed to making footwear in the USA, New Balance is transparent that some of their production is overseas. Like helmets and pads, check before you buy.

Hats: New Era Cap Company owns exclusive licensing rights to the MLB (and the NBA and NFL) and makes the official on-field hats for the league. Founded in Buffalo, New Era makes many of their hats in their city of origin. Some of the company's caps are still produced overseas, so it’s another case of checking the label. If you want your hat guaranteed American-made, check out Americap Baseball Caps, produced in North Carolina.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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