The United Auto Workers on Thursday is formally launching a series of social media accounts and a website for its “Build Buy USA” campaign, echoing President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric since he announced his candidacy for the White House.
Since the beta website launched on Labor Day, buildbuyusa.org has published multiple blog posts that cover the basics of the campaign — why companies should make things in the U.S., why people should buy those things, and how the UAW ensures quality.
It’s all about the union telling its story to an audience more receptive to its message, judging by Trump’s storming of the industrial Midwest on his way to the presidency. If not by design, the union campaign also is an implicit rebuke of the “Here for America.com” campaign launched earlier this summer by foreign-owned automakers operating plants across the United States through thousands of non-union jobs.
“It’s morning again for auto manufacturing in America,” Here For America says, evoking the Reagan-era slogan of 33 years ago. “We’re here for America. We are American made. We are exporters. We are local. We are growing.”
“We,” of course, is not the United Auto Workers member who work for General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. It’s 31 foreign brands with parent companies employing 130,000 Americans whose assembled vehicles generate another 110,000 jobs among the industry’s sprawling supply base — and contribute heavily to the 55 percent of the U.S. market that comes from foreign-owned automakers.
“BuildBuyUSA is about our future,” reads the union’s mission statement published online, a de facto answer to Here For America. “It’s about the big picture of bringing back the well-paying and sustainable manufacturing jobs that supported all of us for generations. We can have the future we want, but it won’t happen through grandstanding or flag waving. By working together, our actions and choices can change the future. It’s that simple.”
Macro-economic conditions remain largely unchanged since the UAW’s online campaign was originally announced in February. Trump is still juggling decisions to shake up trade policies, still threatening to slap tariffs on foreign products and occasionally still prodding companies to create more jobs in the U.S.
The UAW hopes the site and social media accounts will at least help distinguish American-made products. President Dennis Williams has said Americans need to be better educated on what they buy and where a vehicle is made. A union representing garment workers in the late 1970s ran ads urging buyers to look for a union-made label on clothing.
The new website details a short blueprint to boost manufacturing, and that includes rewarding workers, establishing new policies, improving trade and rebuilding union density. As far as buying those products, the UAW lays out another series of reasons to do so. Those include bringing “jobs back,” better jobs and better products.
“Vote with your wallet,” the website urges. “Make a difference every time you open your wallet — choose the USA brand product over the import. Just look at the label to see where you product is manufactured.”