Manufacturers Tour Comes to Alabama and BCA Member Operation

The National Association of Manufacturers will be in Alabama next week as part of its 2018 State of Manufacturing Tour. The tour gives NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons the opportunity to meet leading manufacturers, elected officials, and parents and students, at manufacturing facilities.

The eight-state tour begins Monday and is to end Feb. 22. Timmons will discuss the rewarding opportunities in manufacturing across the country and the urgent need to modernize the manufacturing workforce, NAM said,

“Our focus on this tour is telling the story of modern manufacturing and the incredible opportunities we have for well-paying, rewarding careers-whether it’s a first career or a new career,” Timmons said.

The Tour will be at Business Council of Alabama member Altec (not a public event) on Thursday and then at Lawson State Community College from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 1100 9th Ave. SW in Bessemer.

Since 1929, Altec has been a leading provider of products and services to the electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, lights and signs, and contractor markets. We deliver products and services in more than 100 countries throughout the world.

Altec Chairman and CEO Lee Styslinger III and other members of the Business Roundtable met with President Trump a year ago amid confidence in the direction the economy was heading, confidence that was rewarded with an historic tax cut in December.

“Across America, the nature of work is changing, and the types of jobs we’re creating are shifting. Innovation is transforming the way manufacturers operate, and there is an urgent need for talented and skilled men and women on our shop floors and in our facilities working as coders, technicians, craftspeople, designers, marketers and so much more,” Timmons said.

For four years, the annual NAM State of Manufacturing Tour has focused the nation’s attention on the industry that is the backbone of the American economy, highlighting the more than 12 million men and women who are building our future. In addition to Alabama, tour events were scheduled for California, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and New York.


The government shutdown lasted only a few hours this morning before President Trump signed congressional action to fund the government through March 23 and the military through the remainder of this fiscal year. President Trump announced the signing on Twitter, shortly after the House delivered him the bill from Congress, The Hill reported.

“Just signed Bill. Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything – and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” he tweeted.

The bill the president signed provides $20 billion in new infrastructure investment, a priority for President Trump, who wants Congress to pass a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill. However, the $20 billion is just a smidgeon of the amount of federal money needed to leverage an infrastructure overhaul of the magnitude that Trump envisions.

Important for Alabama was funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for four years. It was previously authorized for six years as part of a deal last month that ended the January shutdown. Fully funding CHIP takes the budget pressure off Alabama to step in and cover any federal cuts or non-funding.

Congress could not reach a deal to fund the government until early this morning but, ultimately, the Senate voted and sent the bill to the House, which passed it in a 240-186 vote at around 5:30 a.m.

Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, and Doug Jones, D-Mountain Brook, voted yes. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, and Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, joined other conservative House members and voted no.

The deal sets the stage to boost federal spending for both defense and nondefense programs by $300 billion over the next two years and will suspend the debt ceiling for one year. Funding the government until March 23 will give lawmakers time to write an omnibus spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year and break the pattern of gridlock that has led to five temporary funding patches since September, the Hill reported.

The deal does not include a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, giving President Trump win, at least for now. He tweeted that the plan is an imperfect deal that could have been better if Congress had larger
Republican majorities. “Without more Republicans in Congress, we were forced to increase spending on things we do not like or want in order to finally, after many years of depletion, take care of our Military. Costs on non-military lines will never come down if we do not elect more Republicans in the 2018 Election, and beyond,” Trump tweeted.


U.S. Chamber Highlights Intellectual Property Issues

U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2/8) “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) today released its sixth annual International IP Index, ‘Create,’ which analyzes the intellectual property (IP) climate in 50 world economies. The report ranks economies based on 40 unique indicators that benchmark activity critical to innovation development surrounding patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets protection.

“‘The results of this year’s Index illustrate a growing global commitment to IP-driven creativity and innovation,’ said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of GIPC. ‘There is still work to be done, and we hope governments will use this Index as a blueprint to further improve their IP ecosystems and grow competitive, knowledge-based economies. When countries invest in strong IP systems, we all benefit.’

“The U.S., UK, and EU economies remain atop the global IP rankings, though the U.S.’s lead narrowed due to systemic challenges to the U.S patent system. Japan and Singapore also appear among the Index’s top ten. The Index also shows that a majority of the economies benchmarked are building more effective foundations for IP policy. Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, for example, each have long-standing programs to enhance coordination among government agencies responsible for IP enforcement.

“The Index … ranks the IP systems in Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya,  Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, and Vietnam.”

House Passes Rep. Byrne’s Congress Workplace Reforms

Rep. Bradley Byrne (2/6) “Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation to update the way Congress handles sexual harassment and other employment law claims, including a number of provisions championed by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL). As a former labor and employment attorney, Congressman Byrne has been part of a group of bipartisan lawmakers writing the reform legislation. The bill fundamentally reforms how sexual harassment and other employment law claims are handled to make the process fairer, smoother, and more transparent.

“Congressman Byrne said: ‘This bipartisan legislation is a shining example of how Congress should work. Republicans and Democrats came together to bring the Congressional workplace into the 21st Century and ensure that Congress plays by the same rules as the private sector …[by] “Requiring mandatory harassment training for all Members of Congress and staff; Ensuring all House offices have an anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policy; Making the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) process mirror what private businesses are subject to through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); Giving investigatory authority to the Office of Compliance (OOC);

“Not requiring all claimants to go through mandatory mediation and counseling; Subjecting unpaid interns, pages, fellows, etc. to the CAA’s anti-discrimination provisions; Making Members of Congress personally financially responsible for paying any settlements or awards associated for a harassment or discrimination claim the member committed; Publishing information regarding sexual harassment and other employment law claims and settlements; Prohibiting Members of Congress from engaging in a sexual relationship with members of their staff; and Making Member-on-Member sexual harassment a violation of the Official Code of Conduct.

“All of those recommendations were adopted today by the House in H.R. 4924, which makes changes to statutory law and requires Senate action, or H.Res.724, which changes House specific rules and practice and will be implemented immediately. ‘Under this legislation, we will bring the Congressional workplace into the 21st Century and ensure that Congress plays by the same rules as the private sector… the bill will ensure that Members of Congress, not taxpayers, are responsible for paying out sexual harassment settlements.”