Manufacturing work in the shutdown: 'Like being held hostage'

A construction worker holds a stop sign near the Washington Monument on August 23, 2012 in Washington.

The government shutdown isn't just impacting federal workers. Workers in all sorts of different industries are feeling the effects of the gridlock in Washington. 

Manufacturing saw a bit of recovery in 2012, but that soon stagnated. Now they have to worry about the government shutdown. Lisa Goldenberg, president of Delaware Steel Company in Pennsylvania and president of the Association of Steel Distributors, says the shutdown is making a slow system even slower. Orders that should have been completed, get halted and things will take a while to get back to speed even when the government comes back to action. 

"You can't make up for lost time, it sounds so trite, but it's very, very true," she says. 

She says workers are frustrated that the problems in Washington are affecting their work, even though it has nothing to do with the work they're doing. 

"They're angry," Goldenberg says. "They don't know how to affect change in their day-to-day lives. It's like being held hostage to be perfectly honest. That's how it feels to me and that's what my employees are saying. It's a hostage crisis, it's not a government shutdown."

All week long, we will be looking into the uncertainty felt by people outside of the beltway about the shutdown and debt ceiling. Visit again later in the week to hear and read about other industries.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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"Steel comapnies" are just like other companies - each steel company is different. Different processes, different market segments, and different management styles. To say that "steel companies" don't offer their employees a decent salary is not only offensive, it is flat out wrong. I have personally witnessed one particular steel company, forced to shut down due to a natural disaster, send their employees out to help rebuild their community rather than lay them off. The company paid their employees their regular wages, yet the mill was completely shut down.

The government has a major effect on the steel industry - and every other industry in America - as a whole by way of their trade policies, not just shutdowns. I am sickened by the fact that American's don't really manufacture much of anything anymore. It's our government's trade policies that have allowed all of our manufacturing to be moved overseas, and it is that move that I believe has had the largest impact on our current economy, or lack thereof.

Again, why don't you, people, challenge you bozo guests?

Oh, I don't have patience for this manipulative idiocy.
Why don't steel manufacturers pay their employees decent salaries? And people don't loose jobs every day because of greed and ruthlessness of employers. And they are not hostages?

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