The Globalization of the American Furniture Industry Essay

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American furniture manufacturers have struggled with making cost-competitive products over the past decade. Several have closed U.S. facilities and built plants overseas or hired companies to make the goods in foreign countries and ship them here. Many factors have influenced the decision to move production over seas including, labor costs, price of materials, freight costs, time in transit, overall time to make a product and get it to market, and the amount of training needed for employees. “A decade ago, nearly 100 percent of the dinette sets, cabinets, dressers, armoires and other wooden pieces sold in the United States were produced here. Today, 75 percent to 80 percent is made in China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries.”…show more content…
James Copeland of Copland Industries/Copland Fabrics of Burlington, N.C. said,
Deeply flawed U.S. trade policy toward domestic manufacturing is the single most important root cause of the illness. Every American deserves the right to provide for his family, to own a home and to educate his kids, but our flawed manufacturing and trade policies are taking this away." (McCormack)
Copeland is upset because he is competing against foreign companies who do not have to pay workman's compensation, unemployment insurance, overtime, benefits; nor do they have to deal with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Regulations (OSHA) regulations or abide by child labor laws. “None of these things alone drove jobs overseas. But each increased the cost of doing business and made a move overseas just that more necessary for some American companies.” (Hall) Because we live in a modern, civilized nation we realize that there is a need for laws and rules that protect employees, but we also need to realize that businesses exist for the sole purpose of making a profit. “Increasingly, well-intentioned government regulations also drive up costs—and drive out jobs.” (Hall)
There may be relief in site for the American worker. During his campaign President-elect Barack Obama expressed support for tax benefits for companies that keep jobs on American soil.
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