Thursday, March 01, 2007

Unrestrained Globalization Ends Camillus Cutlery

Speaking to a local news channel, Camillus Cutlery historian Tom Williams commented about how unfortunate it is today with the competition that globlization has brought to the small American community's doorstep. He underscored the closing of the 131-year-old company with the fact that all American knife companies are having a very hard time competing today. The costs of doing business in what author Thomas Friedman calls the new "flat earth" have revealed a reality in the way business operates today, independently and together with governmental leadership that has made it incredibly easy for certain businesses to thrive and have made it utterly disastrous for others, especially U.S. manufacturers. Personally, I think it's a shame. I live in the village of Camillus and I have long understood that the Cutlery and its products were once a great a source of American pride and community pride.

Camillus Cutlery labor strike, photo taken August, 2006

For the past year, I would see the pain of the striking workers firsthand, their hopes raised when a labor contract was approved in November, and their sadness and disappointment the very next day when a majority of them were laid off. I saw the writing on the wall, understanding the realities of trying to keep your head above water as a business person in today's dog-eat-workingman atmosphere. I support a more progressive policy that incorporates fairness for all men and women - worker and businessowner alike.

U.S. trade policy should be structured to both promote U.S. competitiveness and to also benefit workers at home in our communties and abroad. Many of you might say , "So the cutlery finally closed. Oh well, that's just the way it is." Many of you are not the workers who took great pride in producing a product that was proudly U.S.-made by a prominent manufacturer in their small community for well over a century. With a realisitically fair U.S. trade policy, Camillus Cutlery wouldn't have had to have come to an end in this manner.

Ironically, U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly rose in February. There is no joy in the village of Camillus today about the news.


TomCat said...

"Free Trade" as it now stands is greatfor giant corporations, because they get to produce overseas, and import back here without penalty. In this case, that's the freedom to exploit Americans.

Larry said...

This is not the America that our parents and grandparents fought to make better.

Thousands of workers lose their jobs every week because of NAFTA and its many sisters.

Today, Congress passed the Employee Free Choice Act.

Mitch McConnell says he will block it in the Senate.

Bush says he will veto it.

Corporations have their own "union" in the form of the Chamber of Commerce and the National Manufacturers Association.

These corporate "unions" are bigger and more powerful than any labor union.

Shouldn't workers have a right to unionization with reprisal, like their employers do?

GreenSmile said...

so sad. The very first pocket knife I ever owned was made by Camilus.

This is part of bigger picture: "
The nation’s manufacturing sector managed to slip into a recession with almost nobody seeming to notice. Well, until yesterday.

Frederick said...

It's a god damn travesty.

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