WTF Moment — US Olympic Team Uniforms Made In China

The U.S. Olympic team’s uniforms were made in China? This might be a WTF moment for the country, over the practice of sending our jobs, factories, industries and economy to China for the super-enrichment of a few. What next, a President made in China?

Made In China

ABC News discovered that the US Olympic Committee is “partnered with” American designer Ralph Lauren for the uniforms. But ABC looked at the labels and found that every single item was made in China or elsewhere, not in the United States.

This is symbolic of something very important. Americans are universally tired of looking for American-made goods in stores and finding only goods made in China. People are increasingly coming to understand that the practice of closing factories here and moving the manufacturing and jobs to China, to take advantage of the lack of democracy that results in low wages and poor environmental standards, is the cause of the job fear here that is hollowing out the middle class, while greatly enriching a few at the top.

So people are fed up, and it is crystallizing. Things like this could be the trigger-point that brings this issue to the surface of public discussion. Heck, maybe it could even be enough to get Mitt Romney to put his actions where his campaign speech is, and tell Republicans in Congress to allow a vote on the currency bill!

Burn Them And Start Over

Senate Majority Leader expressed the feelings of many Americans:

“I am so upset. I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference on taxes. “If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that’s what they should wear,” he said, referring to an athletic jersey.

Olympics Says Screw You

In a statement, the U.S. Olympic Committee defended the choice of designer Ralph Lauren for the clothing … “Unlike most Olympic teams around the world, the U.S. Olympic Team is privately funded and we’re grateful for the support of our sponsors,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement. On Twitter, Sandusky called the outrage over the made-in-China uniforms nonsense.

Republicans Say Screw You

As reported by the Washington Post, Republicans immediately began mocking Democratic concerns over the outsourcing of the manufacturing. They assumed that Reid’s clothing is made in China because they apparently don’t know people who actually care about that.

Within minutes, Republicans used Twitter to ask Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson whether the senator planned to burn any of his foreign-made clothing. (They also asked whether Democrats planned to return thousands of dollars in political donations from Lauren.) In response, Jentleson posted a photograph of the label on the Reid’s suit coat: “Made in the U.S.A.” For emphasis, Jentleson carried Reid’s suit coat through the halls of the Capitol to show reporters.

These are the same Republicans who opposed requiring that stimulus dollars be used first for American-made goods, and are now running ads accusing President Obama of sending taxpayer dollars out of the country .

Profits Before Patriotism

The Christian Post, in US Olympic Uniforms Made in China, Seen as ‘Profit Before Patriotism’, found that the clothing very well could have been made in the USA.

“Why shouldn’t we have pride not only in the American athletes, but in the American manufacturers and laborers who are the backbone of our country?” asked Nanette Lepore, a U.S. fashion designer. “Why? What’s wrong? Why was that not a consideration?” Lepore insisted that it was “absolutely” possible that the uniforms could have been in the United States instead of sending the job over to China – and argued that U.S. manufactures could have even made the uniforms for less money.

The Christian Post highlighted a reader comment that sums this up nicely: (Though I’m not sure we need to “preach to the world that we are a superior Christian Nation”…)

“When all you care about is money the only thing that counts is price. We used to stand for quality, self-reliance, a commitment to excellence and the prestige that comes with it. Those virtues mean nothing anymore. Only price,” offered a reader named “Joe.” “We devastate our economy and society by closing productive businesses and off-shoring jobs needed here for the survival of our citizens the most precious and greatest resource we have for the sole purpose of increasing investor dividends by a few pennies a share and then preach to the world how we are a superior Christian nation advancing the goals of civilization. If we can’t afford uniforms made in our own country we can’t afford to be in the Olympics, period,” he added.

Take Action

Petitions telling the US Olympics association to Buy American: Click to sign and tweet this petition:

.@USOlympic – do the right thing, get new uniforms #madeinAmerica 4 #TeamUSA http://act.ly/5za RT to sign #olympics #bringjobshome #1u

Online petition: http://signon.org/sign/demand-made-in-america

To be delivered to: U.S. Olympic Committee

I urge the U.S. Olympic Committee to do the right thing and have new uniforms manufactured in America for our U.S. Olympians.

Hundreds of Olympians from the United States will be competing in the Summer Olympics in London at the end of this month. These athletes represent values that make America great: hard work, determination, pride in our country and the things we can accomplish as a nation. Unfortunately, the U.S. Olympic Committee seems to have forgotten some of those values. Instead of making sure the uniforms Olympians will be wearing during the Opening Ceremony were made here in America, the U.S. Olympic Committee decided to outfit them in Ralph Lauren uniforms made in China at a whopping cost of $1945 for men and $1473 for women uniforms—more than they may have cost if produced in the United States. More than 2.8 million jobs have been shipped to China since 2001. We have lost 6 million manufacturing jobs in the last decade. The failed policies that have encouraged companies like Ralph Lauren to create jobs overseas, not in America, have hurt working families and our communities. Tell the U.S. Olympic Committee to do the right thing and have new uniforms manufactured in America that are union made for U.S. Olympians.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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One thought on “WTF Moment — US Olympic Team Uniforms Made In China

  1. My union is the one that (among other things) makes costumes for movies and stage. They sent out this notice:
    IATSE OFFERS TO PROVIDE U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM UNIFORMS
    New York, July 13 – On the heels of the outrage expressed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other members of Congress, that the uniforms to be worn by the U.S. Olympic team were made in China rather than the United States, the IATSE has stepped up to help our athletes proudly wear garments made in the U.S.A.
    IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb offered the services of the IATSE’s 44 chartered theatrical wardrobe unions in the U.S. who are ready, willing and able to assist in the production of the uniforms.
    President Loeb stated, “Our people design and build costumes for all sorts of events and entertainment and have done so since 1893.” With the Olympics opening day ceremonies scheduled just two weeks away in London, President Loeb added, “Members of the IATSE create all types of clothing under the tightest of schedules and we welcome the opportunity to be engaged by the U.S. Olympic Committee to help produce these uniforms with skilled American workers. We are extremely proud of our U.S. Olympic team as they represent us in the London games, but we want them also to be proud to wear uniforms that were made by workers in their own homeland.”

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