John Ratzenberger to Host Chicago Town Hall Meeting on Manufacturing Issues

TV star headlines Alliance for American Manufacturing's "Keep it Made

in America" event

Feb 19, 2008, 00:00 ET from Alliance for American Manufacturing

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, February
 20th, television and film star John Ratzenberger will host the final 'Keep
 it Made in America' town hall meeting in Chicago, IL. The Chicago event is
 the seventh and final town hall in a series of national meetings sponsored
 by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) to spotlight growing
 concerns about the challenges facing American workers and manufacturers.
     From his humble beginnings in Bridgeport, Connecticut, John
 Ratzenberger gained international fame on the acclaimed television series
 Cheers. Today, Ratzenberger hosts his own show about American manufacturing
 on the Travel Channel, John Ratzenberger's Made in America.
     "I'm proud to partner with the Alliance for American Manufacturing on
 the 'Keep it Made in America' town hall meetings," said Ratzenberger. "I've
 traveled all across this country and I've seen firsthand how manufacturing
 drives our economy. Chicagoans understand that. Our town hall meetings are
 designed to engage, educate, and inspire people to take on trade and
 manufacturing issues; to remind them that 'Made in America' means good jobs
 and safe products."
     The U.S has lost 3.2 million manufacturing jobs since 2000, losses that
 have reverberated in Illinois and NW Indiana. While manufacturing is still
 the largest part of both states' economies, Illinois has lost more than
 194,000 manufacturing jobs over the past seven years, and Indiana has lost
 110,000. To put that into perspective, the total job losses represent a
 number larger than any city in Illinois or Indiana outside of Chicago and
     "Chicago's economic success and the future of American manufacturing go
 hand in hand," said Doug Bartlett, Chairman, Bartlett Manufacturing
 Company, Inc. "We should demand answers to the tough questions on trade and
 manufacturing. Will our companies and workers be given a level playing
 field, or will we let countries like China cheat on international trade and
 watch our manufacturing jobs continue to move offshore? Americans should be
 asking these very important questions."
     Minority communities have been hit particularly hard by manufacturing
 job losses. Since 2000, more than 300,000 African American men have lost
 jobs in the manufacturing sector, the highest rate of any ethnic group. The
 heaviest job losses for Latinos are concentrated in manufacturing and
 retail trade as well, which together account for 40 percent of all Hispanic
     "Minority workers in and around Chicago have been disproportionately
 affected by manufacturing job losses," said Tammi Davis, President, NAACP,
 Gary, Indiana branch. "It's important that we recognize the vital role
 manufacturing plays in our communities. The job losses are not just
 statistics, they represent workers and families right here in Indiana and
 Illinois that are struggling to stay afloat."
     The "Keep it Made in America" town hall meeting will be held on
 Wednesday, February 20th, at the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and
 Lakeshore Drive. Doors open at 6:00 pm. The program begins at 6:30 pm.
 Admission is free and is open to the general public.
     During the town hall meeting, Ratzenberger will encourage people to
 consider three key questions about America's commitment manufacturing:
     -- How will we save American manufacturing jobs?
     -- What policies will strengthen the American manufacturing base, which
 is vital to our economic and national security?
     -- What steps can we take to enforce trade laws and hold cheating
 countries like China accountable?
     "The manufacturers and workers of Illinois and NW Indiana share John
 Ratzenberger's and AAM's dedication to strengthening American
 manufacturing, and we're excited to work together to focus on these
 issues," said Scott Paul, AAM's executive director. "For America to remain
 the leader in the global economy, we have to overcome some very real
 challenges that threaten the vital core of our economic engine. Our town
 hall meetings are initiating this important dialogue and empowering people
 to continue the discussion with their neighbors and community leaders."
     The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a unique non-partisan,
 labor-management partnership forged to strengthen manufacturing in the U.S.
 For more information visit:

SOURCE Alliance for American Manufacturing