The AFL-CIO is encouraging union members to look for union-made goods and services when they buy for the holiday season.
Given the volatile state of the economy — marked by huge job losses, declines in take-home pay, and increased costs — it makes more sense than ever to focus the purchasing power of union families on the goods and services that those families create. Supporting union-made products helps keep good jobs in the community.
Consumer surveys indicate that holiday spending will largely remain flat this year and that most people will pay cash rather than add to their credit card debt. Still, the National Retail Foundation says that Americans will spend on average $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise this year. All the more reason to specify “union-made-in-the-USA” gifts for friends and family.
Following are some suggestions for your consideration:
- Hiking boots by Danner are top-quality and will last a lifetime. Check the label: If it’s U.S. made, it’s manufactured in Oregon by members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555. And you can buy them at the Danner outlet store on 12021 NE Airport Way in Portland.
- Tillamook cheeses make a fine gift basket item, and are made by Operating Engineers and Teamsters at the Tillamook County Creamery.
- All Portland Center for the Performing Arts shows are run by unionized workers — that includes anything at the Keller, the Oregon Ballet Theatre, and the Oregon Symphony, among others. Tickets to the Oregon Symphony keep members of American Federation of Musicians Local 99 employed.
- A Browning hunting rifle, made by union Machinists, could hit the target for big game hunters in the family. Gerber hunting and fishing knives are also union made in Tigard by Machinists members.
- Books and gifts at Powell’s Books — online and at five Portland-area locations — are stocked, shipped, and sold by members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 5.
- Chocolates at See’s Candies and Ghirardelli are union-made by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers in California.
- What gift is better than money? Gift cards purchased at your favorite union grocer will find their way into the paychecks of UFCW Local 555 and/or Bakers Local 114 members. Grocery, meat and in-store bakeries are unionized at most Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Haggen, and QFC stores; Thriftway, Roth’s Family Market in Salem, Rosauer’s in Hood River, St. Helens Red Apple Market, Sherm’s Thunderbird, and Cascade Select Market in Castle Rock. Also consider Gartners Country Meats or Fulton Provision Company in Portland, Jefferson & Scio Hometown Market, Rudy’s Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Long’s Meat Market in Eugene, and the Red Apple Market in St. Helens.
- Fiesta ceramic dinnerware, colorful, lead-free and long-lasting, is made in West Virginia by members of Glass, Molders, Pottery International Union.
- Blankets under the Pendleton Woolen Mills label are made in Oregon and Washington by members of Workers United (formerly UNITE HERE) Local 118 and 1108-T.
- Award-winning Columbia Crest wine is part of the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, which employs members of United Farm Workers and Teamsters Local 117 in Washington state.
- AT&T Wireless. With the Union Plus AT&T Wireless Discount, union members save 15 percent off the regular monthly rate for individual and family wireless cell phone plans at the only unionized wireless service company. Union members also can receive additional savings on cell phones and accessories through the special AT&T website for union members. For more info, go to www.unionplus.org/ cell-phone-wireless/att-wireless.
- All Hasbro toys and games, including Monopoly, G.I.Joe, and My Little Pony are made by union “elves” who are members of the United Auto Workers. Go to www.hasbrotoyshop.com/all-brands for a complete list.
- Homestead Cards in Portland offers union-made greeting cards designed for trade unions, with themes of unity and solidarity. Workers represented by the Teamsters Graphic Communications Conference Local 747M create handcrafted greeting cards. Their catalog includes more than 200 designs for holiday cards. Most cards are recycled, and all display the Allied Trades label. Homestead Cards is online at www.homesteadcards.com.
- Other union-made gifts: Cappuccino machines, coffee pots, and fryers by Cecilware Corp; hand-operated kitchen appliances, salad master made at Kitchen Quip; Cutco cutlery; flashlights made by Fulton Industries. Louisville Slugger; NordicTrack; Spaulding and McGregor golf balls; Spaulding and Arnold Palmer golf clubs; Riedell ice skates and roller blades; Penn tennis and racquet balls; Algoma Net, Platt and Winston carry bags; St. Croix of Park Falls fishing rods; FNT tennis balls, volleyballs and backstop netting; Bauer, Micron, Dauoust, Mega, Lange, Cooper, and Flak ice skates and ski equipment.
This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive. If you think we’ve left a good gift idea off the list, let us know. Visit unionlabel.org and click “Search For Union Made Products and Services” in the yellow box at the top of the page to find more ideas.