Congresswoman Calls For Mattel To Resume Manufacturing In The US

Mattel used to manufacture toys in the U.S., specifically in Western New York, where it still has offices. Now Rep. Louise Slaughter is calling for Mattel to repair its reputation by opening a plant in her district.

Slaughter, D-Fairport, made the suggestion to Robert A. Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer of Mattel — Fisher-Price’s parent company — in a Nov. 12 phone call.

Slaughter said Eckert made no commitments, other than to tell her he would think about the idea. “Obviously he’s not going to rush into this,” she said.

The congresswoman said she was motivated to call Eckert after watching Mattel announce recalls due to excessive lead paint in toys produced in China. Slaughter said she felt the recalls have harmed the toymaker’s image.

“I told him if he wanted instant rehabilitation of his reputation, he would announce (toy manufacturing) was coming back to Western New York,” she said Monday.

Mattel closed its last U.S. manufacturing plant in 2001, and has not manufactured toys in Western New York since 1997.

Would opening a plant in the U.S. repair Mattel’s image? Do you plan on buying any Mattel toys in the near future?

Slaughter asks Mattel to open plant here [Buffalo Business Today]
(Photo:willc2)

Comments

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  1. Rando says:

    -Newsflash-

    Won’t happen
    Mattel will still be the king of toys

    Think of it this way. If a major flaw in Windows were found, would people stop using/buying it? Nope.

  2. Tux the Penguin says:

    It would not happen unless the workers agreed to be paid close to minimum wage or the buying public were willing to purchase $100 Barbies. Since I see neither happening, Mattel won’t come back.

    Remember, part of the reason these places are going to overseas cheap labor and parts is that we desire the lowest possible prices for our goods. If Americans were willing to consume less, live with fewer luxuries and overall lower their standard of living, we’d see an increase in American manufacturing jobs. Its all supply and demand.

  3. MercuryPDX says:

    I agree, Mattel’s image is far from damaged, most of the “daggers” are directed at China.

    Mattel probably won’t reopen any plants here anytime soon for the same reasons it relocated them to China.

  4. timmus says:

    1) If the dollar keeps dropping and other currencies keep soaring, then the incentive to produce in the U.S. will keep rising.

    2) Oil costs are near $100/barrel and keep going up… it’s gonna get expensive to keep the Chinese Poison Train operating.

    3) The money supply still continues to be loose and carefree, and I think we are going to see a stout run of inflation. With poor union activity these days and a freeze on minimum wage, this will make it less burdensome for a factory to maintain a payroll.

    Barring any acts of god, I think a lot of factors are steering the U.S. to a lukewarm return to manufacturing. Manufacturing, tooling, and so forth has been in the crapper here for decades and this may be what turns it around, marginally.

  5. mandarin says:

    I dunno, I think they will need some more incentive to open up their plants here. Its still possible.

  6. BigNutty says:

    I sure wish it could happen. I would be willing to pay more for products made here. To complicated a subject for this little space.

  7. jgodsey says:

    yes i would buy Mattel toys that were made in the US
    and equally sadly they are too stupid and cheap to start making toys domestically.

    so it’s kinda moot.
    i’m damn near afraid to buy anything made outside the US, either the quality is bad, it is toxic or its exploiting children as slaves. I may go crunchy.

  8. parad0x360 says:

    I think the toys should be made here. Yes they would get more expensive but who cares. Kids have waaaay too many toys these days anyways. Hell our parents managed back when alot of stuff was made here, im sure we can manage now.

    Sometimes cheap just isnt worth it.

  9. XTC46 says:

    @randotheking: “If” you mean “when” major flaws in the windows OS were found, did people stop using it.

    The difference of course is you kid wont die when using windows..they might die eating lead.

  10. Cheapo says:

    @randotheking and @XTC46

    The reason we would continue using Windows is because it’s a monopoly, we don’t have much of a choice. And believe Matte is somewhat of a monopoly too, that is the problem.

    Also…is it impossible for Matte to pay people a minimum wage AND to make a profit in the US without having to hike up the prices to as high as $100?

  11. spinachdip says:

    @xtc46: Ha, I laughed at the “if” too.
    Another difference is that operating systems, for the most part, are bought by employers with the bottom line, rather than the end user experience, in mind. Which is why, despite the numerous flaws and un-intuitive interface, Windows reigns supreme.

    Toys are bought, for the most part, by the parents of children with their enjoyment and safety in mind. They are much closer to the end user than the people who buy Windows.

    And I’ve brought this up before, but when will companies realize that whatever they save by moving manufacturing overseas is mostly offset by the oversight and logistic costs, not to mention the PR damage that quality control issues cause?

  12. meeroom says:

    I would go out of my way to purchase toys made in the US as opposed to China, but I am in the minority. I am 32 and right in the middle of a baby boom amongst my friends, and all they care about is how much crap they can get at Wal-Mart or Marshalls for their little angels for the cheapest price. They all have yards and playrooms (WTF, when did everyone have to have a playroom all of a sudden) filled with plastic toys that they throw out after a year. When I mention anything about how it’s such a waste, I get a big eye roll and a comment about what a bleeding-heart liberal I am.
    And my friends are normally pretty cool chicks.

  13. Egakino says:

    Am I the only one here offended by the representatives remarks? She basically just said hey you know that scandal with all that poison in children’s toys, ya know you should probably make a factory in the US that would make that disappear some. In fact you should make it in my district, yeah that’s the ticket. What nooooo I am not trying to benefit from a scandal involving poison in children’s toys at all.

    I know that rep. are supposed to look out for their districts and a factory in the US would be a good step but this is in kind of bad taste IMHO.

  14. boxjockey68 says:

    I would buy Mattel toys made in the US,
    Will I buy Mattel toys made in China?
    NO.

  15. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @xtc46:
    For every time I saw that blue error screen, it made me wanna do stupid things like punch the monitor or bang my head, if I didn’t have as much discernment as I did, I would end up in a whole world of hurt,

  16. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    Its all just posturing anyway… Mattel pays its lobbiests FAR too much for any real action to take place. Companies are being encouraged to manufacture overseas (if they were not, we would see the government levying tax penalties against companies that outsource over seas instead of giving them breaks), and it isnt going to change in our lifetime.

    Any thought of consumers speaking with their wallets to change things is just a pipe dream. This country is concerned about convienience and speed, not quality.

  17. tadowguy says:

    I’ve been writing to my city council about the new lead mine in my town, but nobody seems to care! They opened up a Toys-R-Us last week and I don’t even think they had to get any EPA permits!

  18. Bryan Price says:

    Hmmm. My youngest are 17, and my oldest are 22, no grand kids yet. So it’s not in my near future, and I dunno about the further future.

  19. Keter says:

    Personally I think it is past time to do what other countries do: require companies that are headquartered here and do most of their business here to keep most of their jobs here, do most of their development and manufacturing here, and buy most of their parts here. Globalization has strengthened the manufacturing base of many countries…and made ours almost disappear. It is now a serious threat to national security…we literally can’t make the things we need to sustain and defend ourselves. That’s unacceptable.

  20. ahwannabe says:

    If Mattel starts making toys in the U.S., I certainly will buy them. And I don’t even have kids.

  21. Rusted says:

    I just don’t see it happening. American workers are too expensive. I’m a business, and am the sole employee. Real eye opener when paying the quarterly estimated, the insurance and the business fees.

    Plastic toys weigh next to nothing and it will be still cheaper to put them on a container ship.

    Don’t look for help wanted ads soon for toymakers.

  22. Adam Hyland says:

    @ahwannabe: lolwut?

    I’m not going to buy toys either way from mattel. It’s not like their competitors will suddenly stop making toys in China because Mattel decided to shoot themselves in the foot.

    When they get here, maybe they can further rehabilitate their public image by offering high paying salaried positions with benefits and retirement for people to screw plastic heads into barbies.

    When they are done with that, they can donate all their profits to a local orphanage, because in the eyes of lenders and shareholders that’s basically what they would be doing with a move like this.

    And…..

    “”I told him if he wanted instant rehabilitation of his reputation, he would announce (toy manufacturing) was coming back to Western New York,” she said Monday. “

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    The Hn. Representitive from New York suggesting this, of course. Somehow bringing a plant to West Texas wouldn’t have the same affect in her eyes, eh?

  23. TWinter says:

    Stop picking on the congresswoman from New York.

    If I understand the article correctly, Mattel has corporate offices in her district and actually closed a toy factory there in the 90s. She’s telling them to reopen what they closed, so telling them to make toys in Western New York does make more sense than in West Texas, unless of course Mattel also has a shuttered factory there too.

  24. ancientsociety says:

    Meh. Let Mattel keep making poison toys in China and scandals like this are making people think about what they give their children.

    Guess what? There are a ton of toy companies in the US and Europe who manufacture toys that won’t make kids sick. They’re a little more expensive sure but, frankly I’d rather buy less toys for my niece (and future children) that are safe and well-made then a bunch of junk that will make her sick.

  25. PaulMorel says:

    I hate Bush with a passion, but the worst thing to happen to this country in years is the trade agreements with china that were put in place by Clinton. It hurts our economy, hurts our wages, hurts our dollar and more.

    This same argument could be applied to manufacturers in every industry, from electronics to cars to toys. We would get better quality and better value from American products that have enforceable quality standards. This would also bring manufacturing jobs back to our country and halt our slide into a service economy.

    But we are slaves to prices, and as long as Walmart thrives, so will Chinese manufacturing.

  26. richcreamerybutter says:

    If I was queen, I would revoke all tax breaks from American businesses that refused to manufacture in the States. If they can’t be bothered to make a commitment here, why would they need any corporate incentives?

  27. MrEvil says:

    The problem is, Mattel has only ONE responsibility. And that’s to make sure that stock price at the end of the day is as high as possible. Thank Dodge v Ford Motor Company for that. If the SCOTUS hadn’t made that ruling, maybe we’d see companies care more about the safety of their product and care more about the working conditions and safety of their workers…and weather or not their workers are in the United States.

    Mattel could move manufacturing back to the US.. it would cost more, but they could more than likely still sell their toys at the same price as the china made ones and cut a profit.

    However, the one thing people with money want is MORE MONEY. To ask them to reduce their profit margins by a bit to bring back some of their domestic workforce is tantamount to heresy. That’s why they moved to China, not because they weren’t making a profit with American labor, its because they could make MORE profit with foreign labor.

  28. Lynn12 says:

    I had three siblings working at the Fisher Price plant when Mattel took over the company. They claimed to the employee’s that they intended on expanding, adding hundreds of jobs to an economy that desperately needed it. Instead, just about a year and a half later, they closed the doors, taking the largest employer in the town with it.

    The employee’s were paid above min. wage, but not anything nearly as high as many may think. It was enough to pay the bills, but that was about it. IMO, people in the community would likely shun any attempt to re-open considering the bad taste they left the last time. (I don’t blame them, would you trust your families future to a company that treated them like this?)

  29. B1663R says:

    the only way they will succeed is if they remove the human factor and create a fully 100% automated factory.

    which they might do, they, after all, need new factories.

  30. dmartinez says:

    It does not matter my wife and I decided to not buy any toys for anyones children this year. Almost everything has led in it and we have had to through out half our daughters toys becaues of this fiasco. Even our baby thermometor which has been used constantly was contaminated with lead (winny the poo thermometor).

    We decided to give cash as a gift to our friends kids or clothing. We will not buy any toys.

  31. TomBihn says:

    Is it possible to manufacture consumer products in the U.S.? Sure, we do it all day long in our factory. Is it difficult? You bet: most of the supporting industries, like parts and material suppliers and machine repair have fled offshore or gone out of business. The easy money would be going to China with your production, but you can still do it here.
    Good to remember that low wages are not the only driving force sending manufacturing overseas: the lack of environmental and consumer safety regulations is also a big factor. Most of the cheap stuff we get from China is painted, plaited, dyed, and stuck together with adhesives that are too toxic to use here in the U.S., and the Chinese worker and the Chinese environment suffers for it.