As the White House pushes for so-called free trade agreements across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the manufacturing jobs that once provided high-paying jobs with good pensions and substantial benefits are dwindling, pay is falling, and benefits are vanishing.
The end result: America's blue collar manufacturing workforce is being forced to turn to government benefit programs simply to survive.
From the University of California, Berkeley:
Just over a third of non-supervisory manufacturing production workers in the United States and half of the nation’s manufacturing workers hired through temporary agencies rely on at least one public assistance program to support themselves or their families, according to research by the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education.As presidential candidates from both parties debate how to revive American manufacturing, and while lawmakers at the federal and state levels promote subsidies to lure manufacturing jobs, the Labor Center calculates that low wages in manufacturing cost taxpayers approximately $10.2 billion a year in public assistance.
The researchers note that the largest classification of temporary manufacturing production workers—assemblers and fabricators—earn a median wage of $10.88 an hour, compared to $15.03 for those hired directly by the manufacturers.