Obama calls out Master Lock in national address

Addressing the need to keep jobs from moving offshore, President Obama singled out Master Lock as an example of a company that moved jobs back to the United States -- and should be rewarded for it.

“A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home,” Obama said in his Jan. 24 “State of the Union” address before the U.S. Congress. “Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock's unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.”

A Master Lock spokeswoman said that CEO John Heppner, along with several other CEOs, met with the president, the vice president and cabinet members in an “Insourcing American Jobs” forum on Jan. 11 at the White House.

Since mid-2010, Master Lock has brought back approximately 100 jobs from China to its Milwaukee factory, which is unionized. Increasingly higher labor and logistics costs in Asia contributed to the decision. Milwaukee provided a more competitive overall cost structure, better control and the ability to better serve customers, according to a statement from the company.

Obama returned to the theme of insourcing a little later in his speech when he addressed the tax code.

“Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it,” Obama continued. “If you're a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn't get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.”

In his prepared statement, Heppner stressed that the federal government also needs to improve access to skilled labor and improve the supply chain structure in North America. 

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