UAW President: Coronavirus shows the US ‘let too much’ manufacturing leave

When the initial spread of the new coronavirus exposed a shortage of medical equipment in the US, automotive companies Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) turned to producing 80,000 ventilators - efforts both companies completed this week.
However, automakers will continue to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) as U.S. hospitals continue to suffer from a shortage that puts patients and workers alike at risk.
The struggle to mobilize U.S. production of necessary equipment in response to the pandemic shows that the nation is not preventing manufacturers from going overseas, said Rory Gamble, president of the United Auto Workers, to its 400,000 member workers at Ford and Belong to GM.
"This pandemic has shown us that we have let too much of our manufacturing out of this country and we no longer control it," Gamble told Yahoo Finance's editor-in-chief in an appearance alongside Ford CEO Jim Hackett on the series Yahoo Finance Presents . "
"This pandemic really underscored the importance of American manufacturing," he adds. "Not just cars, but also medical equipment, prescriptions."
Acting President of United Auto Workers (UAW), Rory Gamble, speaks to Reuters from his office in Southfield, Michigan, United States, on November 6, 2019. REUTERS / Rebecca Cook
On Friday, Ford announced that it would manufacture 100 million face masks by 2021 for communities in the U.S. with restricted access to PPE. The company currently produces 2.5 million face masks every week.
"This will help us get kids back to school as these masks have undoubted reliability," says Hackett. "So we'll see this all the way through until this thing is done."
The company released a short documentary by director Peter Berg on Friday about its linchpin for the production of PPE. Berg also appeared in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a protective face mask with a presidential seal that he wore earlier on his tour when Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford Motor Company, watched. REUTERS / Leah Millis
President Donald Trump's allies cited the role of U.S. manufacturing in responding to coronavirus at the Republican National Convention several times over the past week, but critics have argued that Trump was too slow to rely on the defense law passed in 1950 of production, which allows the president to force American manufacturers to manufacture materials in the name of national defense.
The UAW approved Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who last month released a $ 700 billion plan to strengthen US manufacturing.
"I'm very proud of the Ford Motor Company, with the amount of manufacturing they have had in America when they could have outsourced a lot of products and made even more profit," says Gamble. "So that is to be commended."
"It's a good example for any other manufacturer to do the same," he adds. "Sell Here, Build Here, and Employ great American workers to build and support America."
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