Election 2012: Voter Education Is Key to Manufacturing’s Success

By Ned Monroe, NAM, senior vice president, external affairs

This January not only marked the start of a new business year; it also kicked off a critical presidential election year. Candidates are flooding the airwaves and social media sites with their plans to improve the economy and support manufacturers in America. Whether running for the White House or the court house, candidates are discussing manufacturing and how our sector of the economy is a solid solution for job creation. With this timely focus on manufacturing, it is critical that we take action on our commonsense solutions to create jobs. We can all collectively participate in this important election season.

As member companies of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) work toward a successful business year, employee participation in the election is a top priority. Now is the time to mark important election dates on the company calendar and to update your internal employee voter education plan. The New York State Primary will be held on April 24th.

According to a study conducted by the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), workers overwhelmingly look to their employers as a credible source of information on elections and political issues affecting businesses. Use this valuable opportunity to encourage your employees to support manufacturing by participating in the elections. Your team members want and appreciate your insights.

To help you communicate with your team, the NAM offers an online Election Center as a useful resource for your company in the upcoming year. It’s a one-stop shop that provides employers and employees with all the tools needed for the upcoming 2012 cycle. For more information, please visit www.namelectioncenter.org.

As you craft a get-out-the-vote strategy for your business, focus on providing basic, non-partisan tools our employees will be able to use to make informed decisions on November 6. An effective plan should include voter registration and polling location information as well as reminders about upcoming deadlines and election dates. You might also offer printed copies of the candidates’ positions on key issues. All this information can be easily accessed on the NAM’s Election Center.

Show strong support for employee involvement in the 2012 election. Lead by example. Encourage voter participation frequently in internal communications. It is appropriate to send non-partisan reminder e-mails and to mention the election in an employee newsletter on your company’s internal website or at monthly staff meetings. Consider sponsoring a voter registration drive at your company. Many places of business offer their employees a flexible work schedule on election days so they have the time to vote. All of these actions show that you, as an employer, support and encourage active participation in the voting process.

As candidates hit the campaign trail, we strongly recommend inviting elected officials and candidates to your company facilities for plant tours or “meet and greet” events with your employees. At these events, feel free to discuss issues, their potential impact on your business and the candidates’ positions and records on policies. If you decide to host candidates at your company, contact the Council of Industry, we can walk you through specific procedures and legal requirements for conducting such meetings.

The Council of Industry and the NAM team is ready and willing to help your company develop and implement a successful employee election plan for 2012. Together, we can collectively show both employees and candidates that Manufacturing Means Jobs!
Please visit the Council of Industry’s Manufacturing is Vital page http://www.councilofindustry.net/vital.html for our link to the NAM election center to get started today.