Lynn Stanley Headshot

From the Editor

lynn stanley, senior editor
Job security

moved into a new house in January 2021 after the original structure was destroyed by an EF4 tornado in 2019. I lived with my parents during the rebuilding process, which created an environment conducive for conversations like the one I recently had with my 90-year-old father about his days at the National Cash Register Co. (NCR)

My dad completed a 4-year stint with the U.S. Navy aboard a destroyer during the Korean War. When he returned to Dayton, Ohio, following an honorable discharge, he got a job at Leland Electric making parts for electric motors. He soon migrated to NCR. It was especially exciting for me because it meant our family had access to Old River Park and its swimming pool. Equipped with diving boards, water slides and an ornate tower that divided the shallow and deep ends, the pool was one of the largest in the nation.

Over the next 16 years, my dad held several jobs from making springs for cash registers and offloading material in the lumber yard to final parts inspection on the cashboxes.

NCR continued making mechanical accounting machines and cash registers, seemingly unaware that drastic changes loomed on the horizon. Sweda began to import cheaper electronic calculators and cash registers. In 1972, my dad was a riveter for the company. He remembers the day he was called into personnel, given his “walking papers” and told he “would never be coming back.” He was one of 23,000 NCR employees who lost their jobs.

My dad then went to work for Delco, a factory that was part of General Motors. After six months of employment, he was laid off. Instead of returning when he got a call back, my dad chose instead to get behind the wheel of a semi for Schwerman Trucking Co. He ultimately landed a job as a quality assurance inspector for the Department of Energy where he worked the last 17 years of his career. And it’s probably a good thing he chose to drive a truck when he did.

In 2008, GM closed the Delco facility. Almost 2,000 people lost their jobs, resulting in some employees taking a high dive from middle class, where they earned $29 an hour, to homeless.

This month’s issue of FFJournal features Harry Moser, who organized and established the Reshoring Initiative in 2010 after watching his hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, experience similar losses. The Initiative’s core mission is to bring good, well-paying jobs back to the U.S. by equipping companies with tools that teach them how to sell against lower-priced offshore competitors.

According to Moser, reshoring makes sense for the nation because it’s the fastest, most efficient way to strengthen the U.S. economy. It does this by helping to balance trade and budget deficits, reduce unemployment by creating jobs, level income inequality, nurture the recruitment of skilled workers by showcasing manufacturing as a growth career, and help maintain industrial capabilities required, in part, for national defense. In many ways the pandemic has also helped to expose weaknesses in our supply chain.

For the individuals that make up the manufacturing companies that shore up the nation, it means job security.