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BSA merchandise should be "Made in America" not China - Online Petition

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old but interesting thread, but it is missing something, input from a company that manufactures for BSA supply. Until today, I fit into that catagory. My story may not change any minds, but let me put a human face to the discussion.


For the last 15 or so years, I have manufactured the official BSA book cover. we sell an average of 40,000 units per year to BSA supply, about 2/3 of my entire business. I employ two sewers and one other person in the shop. I do all the cutting, and run the business side as well. My sewers make $12/hr, with no health insurance or other benefits. I am in my mid-50's and also have no health insurance, and in the last 2 years, my 1040 shows about $5,000 per year. In good years, I do fine. in bad years, the buck stops before it reaches my door. that's the glory of owning your own business. No greedy capitalists bleeding the down-troden workers, just a guy trying to get 4 kids to and through college.


For the last 15 years, I have been proud to be associated with the BSA as a supplier. they were always fair, and lived up to their public image. Won a Mfr of the year honor one year, when they still did that sort of thing. When I started out, there was at least an unspoken requirement for products to be made domestically. Not sure if it was official policy, but I believe it was. Having seen the exodus of sewing in my previous product line (kites) move to china, the BSA provided an avenue to make a living. I believe I was a loyal and fair partner, and held my pricing constant for the entire time I made the cover. Recently we upgraded our product at BSA's request to 1000 den cordura, made in the US and 3x more expensive than the fabric we previously used. The change in fabric was made in large part to address new US consumer product safety commission regulations which came out of the scare over lead in paint on toys manufactured in, well, you know where. The regs as written would have put me out of business by themselves, as they required me to test each batch, each color, each version, of each product for lead and pthalates. testing costs would have put me under. fortunately, it appears these regs are gone without a sound, so I lived on. However, now my costs are even higher, and I raised the price about $.50, to cover the increase in fabric costs.


Today, I learned that the cover is going to be produce offshore (not sure where, but China is always a good guess). Price to bSA is about what I currently pay for materials. no comment on quality, there's lots of good-quality stuff made in other countries. you can draw your own conclusions on what the sewers in the new factory are being paid, I don't know. I do know that my sewers, one of whom has made covers for me for 10 years, live from paycheck to paycheck. I feel most for them, as jobs are hard to come by, and rent is always due on the first. I dread having to tell these good people that I don't have a job for them, but that's what has to happen. I have to put my condo shop space up for sale in this market, and find a place to do the other job I still have, which will not pay for two of us (my sister is the other employee).


having existed in the sewing industry for 20+ years, I knew about out-sourcing before there was a word for it. I know I've been living on borrowed time, and hoped against hope that the BSA would be loyal to me, as I was to you. In the end, though, it took persistence on my part to even find out what supply must surely have known for 3 or 4 months, that production was being moved. I've begged for warning, should this day ever come, so I would have time to adapt or shut down my operations in a controlled fashion, but now I'm left with an e-mail that we don't expect to order more this year, and will be able to give you 6-7 months lead time for any future orders.


When you weigh the issues, made here vs. made there, politics, human rights, world economy vs protectionism, decline of the US vs up-raising of the third world, unions vs fat-cat capitalists, don't forget that there are real people behind the headlines. People like me.

so long.

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WOW This topic discussion went on for three years, and where are we now as the BSA continues to sadly flounder at an even greater pace, councils being merged at an even faster pace, membership continu

BSA merchandise should be "Made in America" not China   http://www.PetitionOnline.com/bsa139/   We believe in this strongly, and have created this petition to be sent to the Chief Scout Executiv

We're not getting any "deals" in cost for our uniforms that are made in china, anyone and everyone who has bought a scouting uniform knows this, we're paying for made in America prices, we're the BSA,


Outsourced's story is typical of so many companies here in the USA who were loyal manufacturers to the BSA for many years and now pushed aside to allow National Supply to make even larger profits with cheaper quality merchandise from Asia.


Yes National should be allowed to make a profit, but how large a profit? The BSA already has a captive guaranteed customer base and an absolute monopoly on all their merchandise. This is my main pet peeve about Mazzucca, which I have personally said to him face to face, why does he need to go overseas when the BSA has always made a decent profit here all of these years?

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I compared prices on the uniform shirts between what they were in 2006 (before Mazzuca took over) and now (2011). I found they are less expensive now, although you would expect with inflation they would be more.


I happened to buy a shirt the other day and it was actually made in Bangladesh, which is a parliamentary democracy. Bangladesh has a Scouts organization with over a million members. Their web site has an article about BSA officials vising Bangladesh last year.




Of course, it is a primarily Muslim country and these days I often wonder how much of our dollars going to such places could be redirected towards funding terrorism.

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I wondered about that, Scouts in Muslim countries, so I went out looking. The official Bangladesh Scouting site mentioned following the Scout Oath or Law, but didn't say what they thought those were. http://www.bdscouts.8m.net/ (an unofficial site) does list the Oath and Law. The 2nd point is, "A Scout is a friend to all." Hopefully, this means our money is supporting a program that helps prevent terrorists. I guess a terrorist cell could reorganize itself as a Scout troop, but I really don't think that happens with any degree of regularity.

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I don't know if buying our Scout shirts from Bangladesh necessary benefits the Scouts there in any way. I figure that money goes to wealthy individuals there who spend their money as they see fit.


Regardless, workers in Bangladesh making Scout uniforms are not treated well.


Check out this link



Here are a couple interesting quotes from the document.


"The US$210 million Nassa Group is the second largest factory group in the country with 33 factories. Nassa has been the top supplier of apparel items to the worlds largest retailer, Walmart, and is also a past and/or current apparel supplier to Tesco, JC Penney, H&M, Sears, Asda, Carrefour, and the Boy Scouts of America."


"Labor rights advocates have also documented serious violations at the Nassa Groups facilities. These violations, documented by the Clean Clothes Campaign in 2008, include:

Compulsory 14-hour shifts, seven days a week.

Denial of the right to take personal leave or decline to work on legal holidays. Workers may be scolded or harassed by management to withdraw their requests for leave.

Verbal and physical abuse so frequent that workers described it as a 'regular daily matter.' When the facility falls behind production targets, senior managers abuse line chiefs and supervisors; these supervisors, in turn, verbally and physically abuse line workers. When workers leave their stations to use the restroom, supervisors yell at them."


"Like the Envoy workers, Nassa workers feared that if they were to speak out and demand their rights the company would retaliate by firing them or by orchestrating their arrest by filing false criminal charges against them."


Do we really want to support this kind of thing? I am beginning to think I should try to buy all my clothing "Made in America". Of course, you probably have to go on-line.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Going back to Abel's letter, I found on the website of this "Chinese Scouting Organization" and I found that their oath makes them do their duty to their president and country. hahaha. Also, on the world scouting page, you can go to the "Around The World" tab at the bottom left and China is not highlighted as having a scouting organization. Mazukka is really covering something up. I don't really think that this Chinese Scouting Organization is really true. Just go here and look at thier policies and oath and law.




Thankfully, I heard that within the next year, all of the BSA products will be made in the US. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea. I really hope, though.


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I also find it interesting that the website that this Scouting in China uses is a California company which was sold to another American company,the active network. Now why would the Scouting in China group be using an American company to get themselves on the web? I wonder if any of the founders of clubspaces are involved in American Scouting? hmmm

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My first posting here. Having been in Scouting for 62 years, I have seen the prices, as well as quality, of Scouting items swing back and forth, but has always seemed rather expensive to me. Back when I paid (Yes - I paid) for a weeks camp, as a Tenderfoot, and found the cost of that was roughly 10 dollars, also roughly the cost of a complete uniform. That uniform consisted of : shirt, pants, socks, belt with metal fastener, neckerchief, field cap, all "beginner" patches, and the old metal knot "slide". Those items all were of excellent quality (even though the pants neckerchief and and shirt had to be ironed every time I wore them (even between washings). Today, that $10.00 might buy a belt (but I do not know- since haven't bought a new one for years). I do know though, that one weeks camp here still costs just about the price of a new uniform, which doesn't include all those parts. As to quality, I believe it has stayed about the same, though we can do without the iron these days (thankfully).


As to the cost of other camping and Scouting items, I resist fully. I never wore out the cheap cook kit, the water canteen, the sleeping bag or the tent that I bought at Sears, or now at Walmart. Yes, the quality of true "Scout" equipment is good, but is it so good it should cost two or three times what a young man can purchase at another store? Sadly, most all of those stores are selling Chinese, or other countries products now also. So, as to "buy locally" Im all for it too, but where do we get that equipment, "made locally"? Uniforms? Yes - let us find and contract for local manufacturing. Knives Same thing. Old Henry or others seem to make stateside knives. They may cost a buck or two more, but Id much rather have them. So, yes lets go ahead and ask BSA to purchase locally, when and where they can, but we are not asking them to tie us down to highly overpriced products, or to do without. Getting local companies to put a Scout emblem on their product would indeed seem to increase the price, but the resulting sales increases should bring that back down to their advantage, and to ours.


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  • 1 year later...

What are we as consumers, just sheep?


NO! If we demand local products, they will be supplied! Posting comments and discussing policies are one thing, but getting the word out and exercising the power of the pocketbook is another!


I have bought my last imported product from the BSA store. If they can require my purchases, I can demand the products be made here in the US! I can guarantee, if even 1/4 of their customers demanded local products, they would find a way to obtain local products!

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I greatly appreciate your time writing down your experience with the BSA.


I ran across a poll recently that cited that 62% of American consumers are willing to pay more for American-made items.


I am, too.


Interesting to note that the Storage Industry has been booming, as people need more room for the excess Asian junk they bought. "Less of stuff, but better stuff" has been my mantra.

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Isn't it interesting that the United States is beginning to view China as a military threat.... Recent addition of aircraft carriers to their naval fleet.


Yet we continue to finance their military machine by purchasing goods made in their country.


WE THE PEOPLE are so short sighted.......If I can save $2 on that wrench or car part it is worth it.



Are the consumers sheep, Why Yes!(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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Polls reflect what people say, not necessarily what they do. If 62% of folks really wanted to pay more for U.S made products they would have done that. We know what they did - they bought lower priced foreign stuff instead.


U.S. companines are out of business because they can't sell their product at a price high enough to recover their costs. Other companies try to stay in business by outsourcing the work elsewhere. Why? - polls notwithstanding, the American consumer wants the lowest price possible above all else.

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FScouter, I think it's a little more complex than that.

Sure any consumer wants the lowest price, but that it balanced against both quality and availability. I think there's also a 'patriotic' element in their too, no matter if you're from USA, Germany, or even China.

I'm from USA. Want to buy USA whenever it makes sense..... but can't if it's not available.

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Where does it all end? I live in southeastern Michigan - a state that has had its economy shocked by the decline in manufacturing. Tonight, watching the MLB All-Star game, I see a commercial, narrated by Tim Allen, promoting "Michigan" milk. Heaven forbid I buy that rancid Buckeye milk and support another state!


If someone can make a product on the other side of the planet and bring it to my doorstep with better or equal quality as a local manufacturer for a lower price, why should I support inefficiency?


Yes, child labor, working conditions, pollution, etc. all enter into it too so it really isn't that simple but unless it is a national security issue (I think we should have domestic bullet manufacturing for example) I have no issue buying foreign products.


I moved to Michigan from St. Louis. I get a kick out of all these auto workers who chide folks for buying "foreign" cars. Then I notice them drinking a Heineken, Dos Equis or other "foreign" beer and point out to them that in St. Louis, drinking a non-Anheuser-Busch alcoholic beverage was considered just as "traitorous" as buying a Toyota in Detroit. They just laughed but it was true and they saw no irony in their statements.


Now, Chrysler is owned by an Italian firm, and Anheuser-Busch by a Belgium firm but I still like Busch beer and Dodge Chargers and have no remorse buying either.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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