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                           their point. Partnering with other trade associations, PMA was able to make a difference, as the Bush Administration decided to end the scheduled 3-yr. tar- iffs 16 months early. The action sur- rounding the tariffs galvanized the met- alforming community, according to PMA members who lobbied, and set in motion a formal avenue for PMA mem- bers to have their voices heard in Wash- ington, an avenue still traveled by the association today.
“When President Bush enacted the 201 steel tariffs, the immediate impact to my bottom line was $6 million,” recalls Smith. “We were, as was every- one, forced to put a gun to the heads of our customers. However, the best and long-term solution was to get the gov- ernment out of the steel business. PMA jumped to the front and led the charge that led to a repeal of the tariffs at the midpoint review. PMA has stayed in front and has became the voice not only of the metalforming industry, but for all small and medium-sized manu- facturers.”
“That day on Capitol Hill was a big change in what PMA does, and I remember it vividly,” adds Ajax. “Stand- ing on the back of a flatbed truck in front of the U.S. Capitol with a punch press (provided by long-time PMA member McGregor Metalworking Com- panies, Springfield, OH), we were hold- ing banners that read, ‘No Steel Tar- iffs.’ The police came along and asked us to politely put our banners down, but we had the permit for the truck to park in front of the U.S. Capitol.”
Advocacy Must Continue for U.S. Manufacturing to Thrive
That action sent a message not only to Congress and the administration, but also to PMA members and small and mid-sized manufacturers across the country.
“When you’re in D.C.,” explains Habe, “and I’ve gone a few times, you look at the agriculture business and see how they have a huge foothold and all of the funding—they can push the buttons. Manufacturing is a small enti-
ty. You would think we have a bigger presence but we don’t. But we are chip- ping at the block and starting to be heard. During one of his recent speech- es, President Obama mentioned ‘man- ufacturing’ 25 times. Part of that is the constant message that we are here and without us you don’t have a middle class, which helps make this country strong. We have to collaborate with the government—not just the politicians,
but we have to maintain a voice with agencies regarding regulations.”
Bottom line, according to Habe: “If it is going against your interests, you had better get out there and speak up.”
Laystrom agrees.
“GE, Caterpillar, Ford, GM and other large manufacturers have a voice, and their views are adopted,” he says. “We little guys need to have a voice at the table as well. I’m optimistic about man-
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