Take advantage of Labor Day sales, look at the labels carefully and buy American-made products. However, Labor Day means much more than a day off work and bargain sales.
Labor Day celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers and unions. Labor Day was proposed by two union leaders in 1882, and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day to me is the celebration of the five-day work-week, the 40-hour work week, time-and-one-half for overtime, health and safety regulations and other benefits that American workers have fought for more than 100 years.
In Mexico, China and many other nations, the six-day work-week is still the norm, with no overtime compensation, with minimal health, safety and environmental laws.
Ten great American-made products to consider buying this Labor Day Weekend are:
1. CREE light bulbs. CREE is a high-tech LED (light-emitting diode) light bulb that is made in the United States and is sold at Home Depot and other stores for about $10. These high-tech bulbs use much less electricity than compact florescent lamps (CFL) or traditional light bulbs.
2. Ford C-MAXX, Tesla S. Buy one of the most fuel-efficient American-made cars. The American-made Ford C-Maxx is a hybrid that competes well against the Toyota Prius. The C-Maxx sells for around $25,000 and gets more than 40 miles to the gallon. If you are looking for a fuel-efficient luxury car, the new Tesla S sedan is for you. It is the only American sedan that is taking sales away from Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and Audi. The electric Tesla S was rated 99 out of 100 by Consumer Reports, its highest rating ever an automobile. The Tesla S costs from $60,000 to $100,000 depending on battery range and accessories. Take one of these great cars out for a test drive and experience American excellence.
3. American Apparel. Buy an American Apparel T-shirt, hoodie or sweatshirt. American Apparel is the largest American manufacturer of clothing and sells U.S.-made apparel in Europe and Asia.
4. Simplicity vacuum cleaners. Buy an American-made vacuum cleaner. Simplicity vacuums won this year’s Made in the USA Hall of Fame Award for vacuums.
5. Solar panels. Buy American-made solar panels. American-made solar panels are the most efficient in the world. SolarWorld, Helios Solar and First Solar make solar panels in the United States.
6. American Tires. Replace your tires with American-made tires. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has made it very easy to find American-made tires by requiring that each tire carry a code that shows the company and the location of the plant that manufactured the tire. DOT requires that each tire sold in the United States carry a code. The two letters or numbers that follow the DOT identify a particular factory as listed here: B. F. Goodrich (BE, BF), Bridgestone/Firestone (VE, YE, YU, 8B, D2, E3, W1, Y7, 2C, 4D, 5D) Cooper (UP, UT), Goodyear (JU, PC, UK, JJ, MD, PU, JN, MJ, PY, JE, MC, PT), Kelly-Springfied (JF, MM, PJ) and Titan Tire (CF, JH, MN, PK).
7. American cell phone. Buy a new Motorola Moto-X cell phone that is assembled in a new plant in Texas, the first USA-made cell phone in a decade. It sells for $199, comes in many colors and uses Android software.
8. American Flat-Screen TV. Buy a new Element flat-screen television at Wal-Mart, Target or Costco. The Element televisions are made in Detroit, the first televisions made in the USA this century.
9. Back to school supplies. If you haven’t finished your back to school purchases, check out the All American Back to School Guide, www.madeusafdn.org.
10.American beer and wine. Toast America, by buying American-made beer and wine. Sam Adams won the Made in the USA Hall of Fame Award for beer. Chateau Montelena, Beaulieu Vineyards and Schramsberg won Hall of Fame Awards for wine. There are many other great American beers and wines from all parts of the country. Drink American!
When someone tells you that “Nothing is made in the USA anymore,” tell them it is just not true. There are many great products made in the United States and more are coming.
Editor’s note: The Press asked Joseph to submit a guest column for its special Labor Day issue. Joseph grew up in University Heights, Ohio and graduated from Cleveland Heights High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University and a law degree from Georgetown. He may be contacted at: Chairman@MadeUSAFdn.org. Initial seed money for the foundation came from the UAW and Ford Motor Co. It now has about 1,000 corporate members who pay annual dues.