FTC Commissioner Calls for Tougher Penalties Against False “Made in USA” Claims

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Researcher/Writer, AAM

It’s truly dismaying to see companies exploit the value and integrity of the “Made in USA” label in their marketing all while importing their products from countries like China. But, even more upsetting, is that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been letting these companies off the hook with little more than a slap on the wrist for decades.

Four companies, including Patriot Pucks and Sand Piper, came under scrutiny for their false “Made in USA” labeling this year, but they join a horde of others that have abused the label in the past.

We’ve had more than enough of this deception and complacency, and so has FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra.

Following a FTC vote Tuesday to offer Patriot Pucks and Sand Piper no-money, no-fault settlements despite the fact that these companies were found to have violated federal lawregarding labeling, Chopra issued a statement outlining how the FTC can actually defend the “Made in USA” label.

As Chopra writes, American manufacturers often make sacrifices in order to produce domestically and lose the advantages of “Made in USA” marketing when importers claim the label.

“Almost 8 in 10 American consumers say they would rather buy an America-made product than an imported one,” a 2015 Consumer Reports survey found. The survey also found that, though products manufactured domestically may come with a higher price tag, consumers are willing to foot a bigger bill in order to buy these goods – something Sand Piper and Patriot Puck both exploited in marketing their products imported from China and Mexico as “Made in USA.”

In the past, the FTC has deemed a warning to cease falsely advertising products as made in America as sufficient punishment. But, Chopra urges the FTC to “activate a legal switch to ‘turn on’ civil penalties for the first offense.” From thereon out, each violation can invoke $42,530 in fines.

To activate this civil penalty authority and thus more easily impose fines for violators, Chopra recommends that the FTC codify its “Made in USA” labeling standard, which requires that “all or virtually all” of a product’s parts and processing are of U.S.-origin. Not only would this further strengthen the FTC’s ability to impose fines, but it would also offer further clarity for companies who wish to use the label legitimately.

Defending the “Made in USA” label and the American manufacturers who rely on it feels like common sense to us, to say the least. If the FTC truly wants to deter further fraud, violators must be held to account. Join us in calling on the FTC to impose tougher rules and actual penalties on companies that attempt to swindle consumers with false “Made in USA” marketing.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Human Service Workers at Persad Center Vote to Join the USW

From the USW

Workers at Persad Center, a human service organization that serves the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities of the Pittsburgh area, voted last week to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The unit of 24 workers, ranging from therapists and program coordinators to case managers and administrative staff, announced their union campaign as the Persad Staff Union last month and filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We care about our work and the communities we serve,” said Johanna Smith, Persad’s Development, Communications, and Events Associate. “We strongly believe this work and our connections to our clients will only improve now that we will be represented by a union.”

The Persad workers join the growing number of white-collar professionals organizing with the USW, especially in the Pittsburgh region. Their membership is also in line with the recent work the Steelworkers have been doing to engage LGBTQ+ members and improve contract language regarding issues that affect their lives.

“Workplaces are changing and evolving, and the labor movement is changing and evolving along with that,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who oversees the union’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee as well as the USW Health Care Workers Council. “This campaign gives us an opportunity to diversify our great union while uplifting and empowering a group of workers who give their all for others.”

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work