Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Newell Rubbermaid moves Vice Grip to China

The venerable American icon- Vise-Grip

Well, one by one American manufacturers are selling the American manufacturing base to a communist owned and run society. Vise-Grip, an icon to every mechanic, homeowner, farmer and American repairman that ever worked on anything is closing it's doors in Dewitt, Nebraska where they have manufactured these amazing locking grip wonderments since 1938.

A man named Bill Peterson invented this handy tool and patented it in 1924. There have been many impostors along the way. Craftsman tried their best to have someone else manufacture a line of locking jaw pliers but they just didn't measure up to the real thing.

Newell Rubbermaid purchased Irwin tool in 2003 and it was probably already decided at that time when they would draw out the dagger and put it in the backs of the American workers and consumers. Newell Rubbermaid acquired Irwin tools so they could put another factory on their long list of acquisitions and closings in the mistaken notion of increasing their bottom line.

This is the what is known as "Branding". A company like Newell Rubbermaid buys up a famous brand product like Vice-Grip, shuts the down the American factory, lays off hundreds of people and moves the manufacturing to China. There the product is produced with inferior raw materials and a streamlined manufacturing process that produces and inferior product. They ship it back from China in a new fancy bubble package and sell the product as if nothing has changed until customers realize that this is not the quality product they were accustomed to. A few years later after diminishing sales because of an inferior product and customer backlash, the company then sells the name off to someone else but the product is still made in China with inferior materials and customers eventually stop purchasing the product. After a short time they sell the name off to another holding company looking for a quick profit but by then Vise-Grip is only a memory talked about at coffee breaks at the repair shop or the barn where farmer Joe talks with the neighbor about the price of corn and that old tractor still sitting there.

The plant closing in Dewitt, Nebraska will be just in time for elections. I'm sure the townspeople that have worked there for so many years will now be voting for globalization and handing China our manufacturing base. That's a security plan that is sure to win. Corporate bean counters have no idea about America and the Americans that built it. One day we will have the last laugh on them and we will be standing over them with our feet across their throats.

Here are the "Brands" that Newell Rubbermaid now sell.

Cleaning and organizing- Rubbermaid, Levelor, Kirch

Home and Family- Calphalon, Goody, Graco

Tools and hardware- Irwin, Irwin Vice-Grip, Lenox, Bernzomatic, Bulldog Hardware, Shurline, Amerock

Office Supplies
- Sharpie, Parker, Papermate, Waterman, Rolodex, Dymo, Expo

From the cover of the Newell Rubbermaid 2007 shareholder report:

Our transformation is accelerating
We will generate sustainable growth
by building a consumer-driven branding company;
increase productivity and efficiency by
optimizing our supply chain and leveraging One
Newell Rubbermaid; and change our culture
to foster a globally collaborative organization
that produces best-in-class results.

Watch what happens next...

Yeah, what happens next is American manufacturing is further reduced and the people and traditions that made this country great are ignored and their jobs are sent to communist China for 30 pieces of silver.

Look, no one ever said that we must buy everything we own from American manufacturers. It has never been possible to do. I'm saying that we need to send the message to corporate bean counters that we aren't going to take this lying down anymore. Companies that just take good paying jobs with benefits and ship them overseas to make pennies on their stock is self defeating, dishonest and despicable. I have no problem with buying products from countries that are our allies and treat their workers like human beings but for goodness sakes they're handing our manufacturing base over to people that would destroy and enslave us. What's wrong with this picture?

You should not buy any products from this company and you should write to them to voice your opposition and disgust with their corporate irresponsibility.

Newell Rubbermaid
10B Glenlake Parkway,
Suite 300Atlanta, GA 30328
(770) 407-3800

or at their website

Newell Rubbermaid feedback


Steiner Customer Service said...

Hey this is a great blog you have here! I LOVE your list of where to buy items made in the USA and your resources. I found you through MyTractorForum. It is becoming increasingly difficult to buy American made products. We are a distribution warehouse for new parts for old tractors. We have lost so many of our factories in the US as the automotive industry has moved tools overseas. Smaller Automotive factories used to be able to "squeeze in" a small custom job for us at a reasonable price and time frame, but not anymore. So, as the automakers have moved overseas, so have we. We still have lots of sheet metal and chrome pieces and switches that are made in the USA, but hardly any cast iron. All of the old foundries have gone out of business. I support your cause and I will continue to read and enjoy your blog. This is really useful!!!

J_G said...

Thanks for stopping by. There are still many things made in the USA but it's getting tougher and tougher as many companies looking for the fast buck choose the communist Chinese over American workers to manufacture their products.

There comes a point when Americans just have to stand up to the bean counters and just say we're not taking it anymore.

I bought an ignition coil and didn't ask first "where it was made" for my little green tractor and when I got it I found that it was made in China. It never worked, it never sparked once but I was told there are no returns on electrical items.

Now, to avoid being ripped off by those selling Chinese junk I ask "where is it made" first before any exchange of money is done. Despite the initial low cost of an item made in China many times the buyer will have to either purchase the item or exchange the item numerous times (plus the outrageous shipping charges paid by the buyer) to get the part that works or fits or is acceptable.

Then you have to hassle with the seller because they are selling this junk on their own low margins so they have no other choice but to push this junk off on the buyer and make returns as difficult as possible just to stay in business for the short amount of time they plan on being in business. This is same short term thinking of corporate bean counters. Short term profit, long term uncertainty for hard working American customers.

I finally got my little green tractor running with a coil that was made in the USA and I threw the useless Chinese junk in the trash having learned another lesson about asking first.

Most people would appreciate it if businesses that do sell items made in communist China that they would prominently display that information on the page that the item is sold so an informed decision can be made. It should read "Proudly Made in China" in the product description.

When you buy something made in the USA it is usually displayed as "Proudly Made in the USA" the same standard of information should apply. If a business is proud enough to sell something then they should be proud of where the product is made and by whom.

Ortho said...

Wow, great reporting. I will not spend my American dollars on any more Newell Rubbermaid products. Thanks for sharing this horrible news.

J_G said...

Good, that will be one less Newell Rubbermaid customer.

WhyBuyMadeInUSA.com said...

Hello, thanks for writing about Newell Rubbermaid's closing of the Vise-Grip plant. I mentioned it in my post Is Rubbermaid "Made In USA"? and linked back to your article.

J_G said...

I've added a link to your blog in my Valuable Resources links section Why Buy Made in USA.

WhyBuyMadeInUSA.com said...

J_G: thanks very much! I appreciate that you linked to whybuymadeinusa.com

We have a common goal. Thanks for the writing you've done on this issue.

Hal said...

Hey - I wrote before about my friend's website that sells Weinbrenner shoes. Well he now made a site that is called www.theunionbootpro.com that ONLY lists the boots (main work boots) that are made in Wisconsin. That way you don't have to even try to guess which ones are made in the USA.


StfRon said...

Thanks for a good blog- My wife and I have been buying US made products for over 5 years now, and it gets more and more difficult. I just purchased a pair of vice grips, and opted to pay the 27$ for the US made over the 5$ version. Sad to see this brand go as well.

J_G said...

Hal and stfron, thanks for stopping by. If you have any suggestions feel free to drop in and let me know what you have found. Thanks again.

Scott Fabrics said...

Fix America 1st! How can we start this process? BUY AMERICAN! I've been designing and supplying American Made Textiles for the Surf, Skate and mainstream apparel industry since 1988. I've watched and experienced 1st hand the movement of U.S. Made Apparel to Import Crap from China. This widespread plague that has made America sick with inferior junk from China that looks great on the shelf with its cheap price tag....until you actually use the product....it breaks, rips, falls apart, etc.. We've all experienced the complete lack of quality from China Imports. Not only that but this is a communist country that we support economically by outsourcing all our products to make an extra buck. Who's benefitting here? Not us! The chinese pollute our Earth and poison their own people by dumping tons of toxic chemicals into their own drinking supplies and rivers which eventually reach our shores in one way or another. They're killing their own babies and thousand more are in the hospitals because they allowed toxins in high concentrations to be mixed in baby formula. When are Americans going to wake up and say" ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" It's bad enough they poison their own...but now they even try to poison our children with lead-contamintaed toys and toxic baby formula. What else are we waiting for???
Do the right thing America....Demand and buy Proudly Made in the USA products.
Fix America 1st !

Scott A. Ehlert
Scott Fabrics, Inc.

J_G said...

Scott, I couldn't agree with you more. There are still many things thaty we as Americans can do and one of them is to not tolerate the poor quality materials and goods that come out of Communist China. Thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I did write to Newell and I meant to post this response back in October. Nothing new... same old tank. Thanks for the article and support

Dear Ms. Poling-McDonald:

Thank you for your feedback. This was a difficult decision that in no way reflects on the hard work and dedication of our Vise-Grip employees. Consumers in our global marketplace demand quality at ever lower prices, and we were forced to take this action to remain competitive. We appreciate your interest in our Vise-Grip brand, and will share your note with our company leadership.

Anonymous said...

The world is changing everyday, slowly, yet rapidly. If there's really a market for made in the USA products, it won't disappear.

john d said...

i just tried out the new china visegrips. they are junk. do not buy them. i use visegrips everyday at work. i knew they were different when i saw the poor quality finish. they bent and twisted when i gave them the "john tight test". your best bet is to go to ebay and buy some petersons original visegrips while you can still get them. our country and the elite rich are a sad example of what i thought america was about.

J_G said...

I checked them out too John. They still have American made vise grips ay Home Depot but the will run out sooner rather than later. I bought two pair of the bigger sized ones. To hang onto to give as a present or be nice to someone special.

Drew said...

Home Depot no longer carries Vice Grips made in the USA. Now all are from China. If the quality is sacrificed, then this is not "branding." Branding is what Vice Grips did for the last 75 years. IF quality falls, then this is merely exploiting a brand for short-term gain and the brand will erode over time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Your Blog Is Too Good. Thanks For Providing Information About This Tool.And List Of Items Which Made in America is Really Amazing.I am Basically Collecting Information About Hardware Tools Which Made And Sale In America.My Project Name Is Hardware City.

LuAnn Nickel said...

For anyone who loves vise-grips the way you will know the china ones are that they will not have a roll pin on the lever but a spun rivit.This from someone who spent 30 years making them. Newell knew they were going to sell us out when they first bought the company.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see companies pay our government for all the employees that are dis-placed due to a product being produced outside the US. It is after all our own government paying the un-employment costs. It would also be great if we could force these companies to change the brand name of the product since it no longer carries its original integrity.
I have been laid off because Sanford a division of Newell has recently moved from Janesville, WI to Mexicali Mexico. There were around 200 american jobs lost.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your site, it has helped me find American-made products (and ones that I thought were that are no longer - I used to like Rubbermaid but they moved to China so I replaced it all with Pyrex and love it.) I saw an article that said GE is moving some manufacturing back to the U.S. - the CEO said: “Twenty years ago we were in the process of moving every appliance manufacturing job to China or Mexico, [But]...when I open up the safe under my desk I can’t find the pennies that we have saved ... So the next generation of products are going to be made in the US.”

Anonymous said...

Alarming aspect of Made In China (MIC) is that most Americans would never treat their own children anywhere near as badly as management does in Chinese factories, yet these same US residents don't see the problem of purchasing MIC products. I went to China in 1973, '78 and '81, long before they were a powerhouse of manufacturing. Back then, conditions were horrific and representative of a slave culture. My co-workers who visit China these days tell me same culture and environment exists there now. Shame on American companies for outsourcing manufacturing. I buy new old stock Made In USA whenever I cannot get new US products. Check out auction sites, refurbishing agents and similar vendors. Buying American is still possible in many ways, but one must work for the privilege.

Anonymous said...

When American jobs are converted into foreign jobs, the USA paychecks no longer pay Federal, State, City, local and School taxes. If you want to know why those funds are now running huge deficits, look no further. Meanwhile, Corporate American has one again posted another fiscal reporting quarter of consecutive record profits at the expense of America, while uttering their whining lies about how they must do this to remain competitive or go out of business. Their profit margins have never been higher as they say this, and that's the bottom line. In essence, they're taxing the American middle class, who will pay for this too, to fund their profits. You would think that American could at least insist that companies receive tax breaks for those that create American jobs, instead of tax breaks for those companies that wipe out American jobs.

Profsportster said...

I'm a Professor of History at a Community College and was stunned to find Visegrips at Lowes with "China" on their package. Terrible! I've bought them since I was a kid, never again. I found your site and learned of Rubber Maid. I'm sharing this with classes in lessons on Corporate greed, Robber Barons. I'm a very Conservative, Christian American, and hate what I see happeing to our country and the foolish decsions made by these company exec's. They are deceived, and they're not patriots. A pox on them.

Anonymous said...

Other Rubbermaid products are still made in the US, including their famous containers. Please folks, keep supporting them by buying their other products or they will also move overseas. I have relatives who worked in their Wooster plant in the past, they have a large outlet store in Wooster, Ohio for their products. They make a lot more than Visegrips. I am not happy they are moving Visegrip to China, but they make a lot of products in the US still.

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Gerald Capodieci said...

Buying Chinese made copies is equal to using performance enhancing drugs. They work for a while then fail unexpectedly early. I buy high speed drill and router bits and other tools from US and EU manufactures since I was seriously injured from flying parts and bending bits that have never failed in the past. Without good quality control future accidents will continue.

Product TV said...

I have read recently that it is getting harder and harder to do business in China and that many American companies operate illegally there. I really have a problem with American companies sacrificing everything for a buck and degrading the quality of products. I also have a problem with ALL of the big box retailers who dump this garbage into the United States with no regard for what happens to American families and our society over time, it is and has taken a toll. I also often think of how much of this crap ends up in landfills over time. Over the years I have learned to avoid buying things Made in China but it is nearly impossible to completely avoid it. I have a great hope that a manufacturing revolution is on the horizon and that companies come to their senses and realize that consumers do care about quality and that you can never equate anything from China with quality. IT IS ALL CHEAP CHINESE JUNK! WE DON'T WANT IT ANYMORE!