- CHARITY BENEFIT
My View written by Stephen Sorokoff
Having spent most of my working life in the textile industry I couldn’t help but feel repulsed by the hypocrisy of Sen. Harry Reid’s demands that the U.S. Olympic Committee burn our teams’ uniforms because they were made in China. I employed hundreds of workers from the 1970’s until the 1990’s in what is now a rare establishment –a United States Manufacturing Facility. Every year it became more difficult to operate because of the influx of less expensive garments and textiles from every country in the world. Our government gave them every edge you can imagine and discussing all the tariff and trade advantages other countries had, would bore you. Every year our industry would go to Washington and plead our case for a level playing field. Other governments were subsidizing their textile industries while our government was constantly adding to the burdens we incurred because we were American. The taxes, the unrealistic environmental issues, the constant legal dollars spent to ward off frivolous lawsuits, (never forget the time one of my largest customers, a manufacturer of men’s pants got sued because an obese man got his wiener caught in a zipper). It wasn’t just about cheaper labor. Our competitors were being encouraged by governments to flood our shores.
Millions of Americans were employed in the “Garment Center.” It’s all gone now. Our factory was in New Jersey. One year Sen. Bill Bradley and his staff (looking for election votes) toured our facility. It was very “encouraging” hearing one of his young staffers, flask in hand, looking out at our humming factory and then pointing out to me that this type of industry was a thing of the past. In the future, she lectured me, the jobs would predominantly be in the “Service Industries.” I very facetiously asked: “Servicing What?”
Politicians of both parties abandoned us and now they feign indignation about imported uniforms. Better check the sneakers, swim suits, athletic equipment, or anything else being used. Our athletes may be American but I’m sure they are not using anything made in the USA. Come to think of it, I just was looking through some piano music in my “American Songbook” and noticed, it’s printed in China!