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A Look into the Manufacturing Industry

Outsourcing manufacturing is undoubtedly the aspect of outsourcing which comes to mind the most when discussing this topic.  At one time, the manufacturing industry was a booming, thriving business and factories like JBC Company, Inc. owned by Joseph Campolong made millions of dollars from their American business. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview my two Uncles about their lucrative business now known as DDJ  before the clothing manufacturing industry dried up for my relatives three years ago. When the factory first started out, they were manufacturing under their own private label. The business was completely built from the ground up when my Grandfather emigrated from Italy. In the small town of Madera Pennsylvania, JBC Company, and DDJ Manufacturing, a well-known business across the Northeast, would hire workers as easy as breathing. However, after the enactment of NAFTA under the Clinton Administration, all of the workers that the factory employed became extremely hard to pay due to the loss of funds from the impact of losing work to cheaper overseas manufacturers. After my Grandfather died in addition to the loss of one Uncle, my two remaining Uncles began contracting work for companies like Jones of New York, Anne Klein, Cold Water Creek, and Chef-wear.

The company was on its 75th Anniversary when DDJ was forced to close down. What’s even more depressing than the empty building which lies 500 feet from my house is the personal hardship I witnessed first-hand while my Uncles watched their hard work being washed up and sent to China. There is no denying the fact that manufacturing in industries like automobile, high tech electronics, and medical devices have also felt the impact of outsourcing labor, but for the apparel manufacturing industry, there seems to be no hope of rising from the bottom. Apparel manufacturing tends to require extensive human labor and much lower dependence on high-end technology or scientific research, making it easier to outsource.[1] The only way to combat the problem is to dramatically reduce production capacity or discontinue the business all together. A few clothing companies like American Apparel have been successful in providing clothing and accessories that remain popular while continuing to remain true to “made in the USA.” However, with the exception of the few who have embraced the limited creativity available for remaining in this business, the factory owner has no other option than to wave a white flag and surrender to countries offering cheaper labor where U.S companies hiring the labor can make a huge profit. “Corporate America has single handedly destroyed a huge part of the middle class by shipping factory work overseas.” This was the response that I was given after I asked what Dave Campolong’s true feelings on outsourcing labor were. “I get a sick feeling in my stomach that I could not fix my own company but as a whole we can fix our economy, we just need to work together to make it happen.

[1] Vipin Goyal,” Apparel Manufacturing Outsourcing: Trends and Opportunities in the US.” Kalypso Viewpoints. 16 Oct. 2012.

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