Put Some Made in America Spring in Your Step This Easter and Passover

Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover or just enjoy the fun traditions that originate from these holidays, we’re sharing our favorite Made in America items for spring’s religious holidays from our archives.

EASTER

Easter is a traditional religious holiday in the Christian faith celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But it's also a holiday that includes a bit of fun — and much of that fun starts with Easter Eggs. 

Eco eggs are a great option for those who want to include treats in their eggs during Easter egg hunts. Not only are they Made in the USA, they also are eco-friendly, manufactured from 100 percent renewable content and are fully compostable. The eggs — made from non-toxic, durable, plant-based plastic — are available in two sizes and come in five assorted colors (pink, yellow, green, blue and purple). The company also manufactures eco grass to help fill out that Easter basket. Eco grass is made from 100 percent post recycled paper and is 100 percent recyclable after use, so you can easily dispose of it in your paper recycle bin. 

But if you are looking for a more formal egg, be sure to check out the selection offered by the White House Historical Association for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. The 2019 White House Easter Egg collection is available now; you can buy a single egg or the entire set of five colors -- all Made in the United States. In 2017, Wells Wood Turning & Finishing of Maine supplied eggs for the White House's iconic event. 

Looking to dye your eggs? Check out Doc Hinkle Easter Egg Dye. Unlike ordinary dyes that must be diluted, Doc Hinkle's paint-on kit helps egg decorators create "beautiful, bright colors and patterns instead of dull single-colored eggs." Colors included in the kit include red, blue, yellow and purple, which can be combined to create new hues.  

You are going to need a place to put all those eggs, and Peterboro Basket Co. and Charleston Sweetgrass offer a variety of sizes, shapes and colors.

And don't forget about Easter candy! Jelly Belly jelly beans continue to be Made in America (the company also offers ready-made gift baskets, although it's unclear whether all of the items included are manufactured in the United States). Mike and Ike Easter Treats are also a solid pick, filled with flavors including grape, pineapple-banana, strawberry, lemon-lime and cherry. But get them before they're gone — the candy is available for a limited time. 

And have no fear! While the Washington Post might have canceled its annual Peeps contest (you can still view a decade’s worth of epicPeeps dioramas here), we are happy to report that Peeps continue to be manufactured by Just Born in the United States.

PASSOVER

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, commemorating the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. It begins by the removal of leavened food products (called chametz), which includes anything with wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives — so bread, pasta, cookies and most alcohol is out. Instead, celebrants eat matzah, an unleavened bread.

Passover is highlighted by the Seder meals, which take place on the first two nights of the holiday. The Seder includes four cups of wine, and celebrants dine on matzah and bitter herbs while retelling the story of the Exodus. Since the Seder is the most festive part of Passover, we'll focus on recommended wine (and grape juice) and other items for the meal. 

Of course, there are a slew of American-made wine options out there. The AFL-CIO recommends brands like Arbor Mist, C.K. Mondavi, Chateau Ste. Michelle, E&J Gallo and Turning Leaf, which are union-made and can likely be found at your local store. As for grape juice, Manischewitz and Welch's have teamed up to offer 100% Concord Grape Juice, which includes no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or sugar. It's also sulfite free.

Manischewitz also continues to be a good option for finding processed kosher food products perfect for the Seder. The company also claims to be the No. 1 maker of matzo in the world.

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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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A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder