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To draw the attention of Congress and the White House to the pressing need for a deal to repeal sequestration before we fall over a fiscal cliff on January 2, companies and workers are continuing to make their voice heard in rallies and events across the nation. Since the beginning of the year stop sequestration rallies have been held in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. These events, which have drawn widespread attention, are helping AIA’s Second to None campaign hammer home the message that the 2.14 million workers whose jobs are at stake need Congress and the White House to develop an alternative to sequestration now.
Most recently, AAR Corporation in Florida, Lord Corporation in North Carolina, Northrop Grumman Corporation and other northern Virginia companies hosted “Stop Sequestration” events. Below are some highlights from the rallies.
A strong bipartisan lineup of politicians from Virginia including Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, Democratic Congressmen Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran and Bobby Scott and Republican Congressman Frank Wolf joined Wes Bush, AIA’s Vice Chairman and CEO and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation, and other industry leaders at a rally on July 30 in Arlington, Va.
Approximately 250 workers from a number of AIA member companies and other area firms flocked to the ballroom of a local hotel to show their support and hear remarks from the speakers while waving ‘Stop Sequestration Now’ signs. John Jumper, the CEO of member company SAIC, joined AIA President and CEO, Marion C. Blakey on the stage.
According to a study by Dr. Stephen Fuller at George Mason University, job losses from Virginia under sequestration in 2013 will be the second highest in the nation behind California with more than 225,000 jobs at stake.
Republican or Democrat, the message was the same: Stop Sequestration.
NC Governor Perdue Participates in Industry Roundtable at Lord Corporation
Nearly 150 community and industry representative met with Governor Bev Perdue to discuss the approaching danger of sequestration and the 29,000 jobs in North Carolina at risk August 1.
“Military installations and defense-related businesses are thriving in North Carolina – together they have an impact of more than $23 billion on the state’s economy,” Gov. Perdue said. “We need to protect this vital area of the state’s economy. So congressional leaders should work together to avoid the impact of sequestration by crafting a comprehensive, balanced debt reduction package that preserves jobs, protects schools and addresses our long-term security and budget needs.”
Lord Corporation chairman, president and CEO Rick McNeel led the discussion, which included remarks from Lance DeSpain, executive director of the North Carolina Military Foundation; Ray Jones, president of the North Carolina Aerospace Alliance; and AIA President and CEO, Marion C. Blakey.
“Businesses need to know what they are dealing with before they can make investments and hire new workers,” said McNeel. “Sequestration is a giant question mark hanging over North Carolina businesses. It is hurting the economy and North Carolinians every day it remains unanswered.”
Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), AAR Chairman and CEO David P. Storch, leaders from the Space Coast business community and more than 250 local workers rallied June 25 at the AAR Airlift facility in Melbourne to warn about the threat to U.S. economic and military strength posed by sequestration.
A study commissioned by AIA found that Florida could lose more than 79,400 jobs in 2013 if Congress does not act to stop these cuts. In a community already weakened by the end of the space shuttle program, Space Coast leaders agreed that reductions of this magnitude would have devastating consequences.
“These cuts slice across the board so nothing is safe,” said Rep. Posey. He called for workers to write their elected representatives to inform them of the need for urgent action.
“The number one economic challenge we face is jobs and we must create awareness of these impending cuts and their potential effects,” said Storch. “We need to do all we can to ensure an outcome that benefits our country and our communities while fostering productivity and innovation for our industry.”
In addition, Dan Pearson, COO of Harris Corporation; Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of EDC of Florida’s Space Coast; and AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey raised concerns over the impending budget cuts.
Aerospace and defense supports more than 167,000 jobs in Florida, bringing $14 billion in revenue and fueling $5 billion in exports — an economic powerhouse that has needlessly been placed at risk. Sequestration cuts threaten not only jobs, but would reduce labor income in Florida by more than $4 billion and cause a loss of nearly $8 billion in gross state product.
“You can look long and hard in Washington to find anyone who thinks sequestration is a good idea,” Blakey said. “Mostly you hear worlds like ‘catastrophic’ and ‘devastating.’ The Congressional Budget Office says it would be like leaping off a ‘fiscal cliff’ – and landing right back in another recession.”
AIA Source: dan.stohr[at]aia-aerospace.org