December 19, 2006 – Florida IAM member Roger Simmermaker returned from a shopping trip in 1994 stunned by the absence of American and union-made products on his local store shelves. The experience ultimately led him to write “How Americans Can Buy America, The Power of Consumer Patriotism.” The book, now in its third printing, is a guide to finding union-made products in the U.S. and a warning about the consequences of failing to do so.
“We have to find and buy the products that are built and assembled by the Middle Class or that Middle Class will go away,” declared Simmermaker, whose book lists hundreds of products made in the U.S. and hundreds more masquerading as U.S.-made products.
Simmermaker also believes individual consumer decisions are a potent form of political power. “We only vote once every two or four years at the polls, but we vote every single day at the store or over the Internet with our dollars,” said the Machinist / author.
In an essay published this week in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Simmermaker defends U.S. auto makers Ford and GM against criticism from the automotive press, which regularly touts the quality of Japanese and German-made cars. “Ford and General Motors have taken turns besting the Toyota Camry in quality surveys for the past two years, but if you talk to many Americans, especially the ones who would never consider supporting home-based auto companies, you’d never know it,”
Simmermaker provides encouraging statistics for U.S. automakers’ build quality, and fuel efficiency, when compared to their European and Asian rivals. “The J.D. Power 2006 Vehicle Dependability Survey reports that Mercury, Buick and Cadillac (in that order) grabbed the No. 2, 3, and 4 spots to beat Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW and everyone else (except Lexus) in having the least number of problems per 100 vehicles.”
Click here to view “American Pride,” an IAM interview with Roger Simmermaker.