Back when the Japanese cars flooded the U.S. marketplace and people started buying them up, the UAW launched a “Buy American” campaign to encourage Americans to buy cars that were built in their country. It was a cut-and-dry affair back then. Today, it’s different. Yet, the UAW is reportedly looking to resurrect that campaign for 2017.
On the surface, it’s a simple idea. Buy American-made vehicles. But I can’t imagine that the UAW would promote people buying a Honda Civic. It’s built in Indiana, of course, but not by union labor. On the other hand, would they recommend buying a Ford Fusion, a car built in Mexico but a U.S. manufacturer?
It’s complicated, and the financials muddy the waters even more. Additional muddification — yes I made up that word — comes from where the components are assembled. Look at the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. It’s seemingly an American car, but the engine comes from Mexico — like all HEMIs — and the car is assembled in Canada.
Really though the goal of this campaign is to “buy Union.” According to UAW Dennis Williams, speaking to the Detroit Free Press, “First and foremost I want them buying union,” Williams said. “Second, I want them buying in the USA.”
Remember folks, when you see these “Buy American” ads in the future, remember it’s really them wanting to you to buy union. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting people to do that, it shouldn’t be forgotten that many foreign automakers build many cars in the United States, employing tens of thousands of Americans and providing to the local economy.
Politics, like NAFTA itself, can be a bit complicated.