This article appeared in the October 2018 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
The success or failure of a business often depends on where it’s located and its ability to balance investments and hiring with hundreds of regulations and an ever-changing competitive landscape.
Did you know…there are nearly 3,000 registered lobbyists in Michigan? Most of them have an agenda that is counter to manufacturers’ need to be competitive in the global economy. One of the critical factors in achieving MMA’s many recent successes has been the election of pro-manufacturing candidates.
“When you are facing so many opposing special interests, it becomes vital for manufacturing to have pro-industry candidates who understand the role we have in Michigan’s economy and can support us through the legislation they pass,” says Brian Pickelman, director of HR for Morbark Inc., an equipment manufacturer in Winn. “Legislators are essential in providing training grants for our current workforce and supporting vocational education programs to prepare our youth for manufacturing jobs.”
For Michigan-based manufacturers, there have been significant recent improvements, many achieved thanks to the hard work and collaborative efforts of MMA and the pro-manufacturing candidates you elect. These successes include:
- The elimination of Michigan’s Personal Property Tax on manufacturing equipment
- The elimination of the Health Insurance Claims Assessment (HICA) tax — saving manufacturers $272.5 million annually
- Dramatically reduced workers’ compensation rates
- Increased funding to the state’s Going PRO Talent Fund (formerly Skilled Trades Training Fund) and other talent-focused state and local initiatives
- More than 2,300 fewer rules and regulatory barriers to competitiveness
These improvements and other successfully achieved policy goals have propelled Michigan forward. Michigan leads the nation in manufacturing job growth; having created 190,700 new jobs since June 2009. Not coincidentally, the state’s unemployment rate improved from a national low of 14.9 percent to its current rate of 4.5 percent over the same period — a rate better than the national average!
All that success, all that progress, could disappear in November without you taking action.
This November 6, perhaps more than ever before, manufacturing needs your voice, it needs your vote, and it needs the vote of the manufacturing community.
Support Your Workforce
Show that you care about the future of manufacturing in Michigan and be a Manufacturing Voter!
“Voting on any issue or for a candidate is the best way to make sure your voice is heard and the issues that you and your company care about are properly considered,” says Rich Ansell, vice president of marketing for the Mahindra North America Technical Center.
Your opinions are valued by your employees, whether you know it or not. The success of your business means a roof over their heads and food on the table. It means better schools for their children and more well-trained police, fire and emergency response. When issues threaten your business, it threatens your employees and they deserve to be informed of candidates who will have manufacturing’s interests at heart.
“At Morbark, we’re developing a comprehensive communications plan that involves utilizing our electronic bulletin boards, supervisor/lead meetings and our newsletter to reinforce the importance of taking an active role this November,” says Pickelman. “Whether you care about taxes, energy policy, health care, environmental regulations or improving talent development in Michigan, voting for the candidate that best represents your interests is the first step to real success.”
Whether you have a long-standing strategy for elections or are just starting out, there are countless resources you can use to better inform yourself and your employees this fall.
Election Resources to Share
Whether you’re an employer looking to share voting information or an employee wanting to learn more, the MMA Election Center has the tools you’ll need to be an informed Manufacturing Voter this November.
The Election Center includes:
- Resources for Communicating with Employees
- MMA-Endorsed Candidates
- MMA Legislative Successes
- Your Current Legislators
- House and Senate Vote Records
- MMA Political Action Committee
- Regional Meetings
- Key Dates
- Polling Place Locator
- Sample Ballots
Thanks to the State of Michigan, registered voters can view sample ballots for their location, track the status of absentee ballots and verify their voter registration information.
With so many resources at your fingertips, the MMA Election Center can help make you and your leadership team effective pro-manufacturing voters.
“MMA’s Election Center is an awesome resource to help employers and manufacturing leaders provide information and promote the need to be a manufacturing voter,” says Pickelman. “The polling place locator is a great resource for first-time voters and those new to an area. MMA’s list of endorsed candidates is a great resource for members to use to know exactly who is supporting us and why we should support them.”
Your Vote: It’s Not Just for Michigan
It’s not just the future of Michigan manufacturing at stake — America’s manufacturing legacy is on the line. After you’ve checked out the statewide resources of MMA’s Election Center, remember to visit the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) for details on all the candidates who could represent your interests in Washington.
“The decisions we make about our nation’s leaders on November 6 will not just affect those of us who vote in this year’s election. The effects will be felt for decades, and perhaps even generations, to come,” says Ned Monroe, senior vice president of external relations for NAM. “We need steady, clear leadership that will set our children and grandchildren on a course to prosperity and growth.
The NAM Election Center’s Employer Toolkit is full of great content for manufacturers looking to learn more about federal issues impacting their business. Build an effective Get Out the Vote program with resources including:
- How-To Guide
- Federal Issue Summaries
- Shareable Resources
- 2018 Voter Guide
“The stakes are too high to stay at home this November,” says Pickelman. “Policy affects our competitiveness and who we elect is who will drive policy. By being a Manufacturing Voter, you’ll understand who the pro-manufacturing candidates are so that you can support those who will stand by your business.”
Manufacturers can change everything if we cast our votes.