07 October 2015

Another Made in the USA Death

Hard to believe that it has been seven years since Vise-Grip left America. I grew up in a time where quality products were made in the USA. All the inferior products were made in China. I believe that for the most part, this statement still holds true.

Since my childhood, things have changed.  Quality still comes from the USA but it is getting harder to find.  More and more of our quality products are disappearing.  These products still exist but they no longer are made in the USA.

You can drive across our country and stop off at any good size town and see idle factories.  These empty buildings used to produce a quality product, created by loyal and devoted employees.

Their products made their companies money, yet they closed down.  Why?  Their jobs were moved overseas.

The last company to do so happened in my own backyard.  In the town of DeWitt, Nebraska, a product was produced for over 80 years, with pride and embedded with the “Made in the USA” logo.

DeWitt was the home of Peterson Manufacturing.  And Peterson Manufacturing was the home of Vice-Grip.  Roughly five years ago, the Rubbermaid Corporation bought out Peterson’s and assured the community that their factory and their jobs were safe.

Rubbermaid renamed the company Irwin Tools and by 2005 the “Made in the USA” brand was removed from the Vice-Grip.  And by the end of August 2008 the Rubbermaid Corporation  announced  that by October of 2008 the plant would be closed and the Vice-Grip would be made overseas.

In its hayday, Peterson’s employed over 800 people.  When the plant closes 300 people will lose their jobs. 

The new Vice-Grip has no emblem as to its place of creation.  Maybe it’s just me, but picking up a Vice-Grip that says “Made in China,” just sounds cheap.

Losing Our History

300 blank stares
news they already knew
still the confirmation
filled their soul with uncertainty
and yes… some anger and rage

realizing their powerlessness
they still felt like failures
a good part of their lives
spent inside factory walls
making a product with pride
than stamped… Made In The USA

Our industrial past
littered with long forgotten companies
and our work… given freely
to China… India… and Pakistan

the bottom line will show profits
and CEOs will get extravagant bonuses
while the factory is bulldozed
while foreclosures rise and bankruptcies soar

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