Dismayed by news of Alaskans' unhappiness with a decline in the quality of tried-and-true XTRATUFS boots, U.S. Senator Mark Begich is asking the American manufacturer to resume assembly of the boot in America.
In a letter today to the CEO of Honeywell, Begich also asks for the company's advice on how to encourage more American manufacturing in the U.S., citing problems with the U.S. tax code.
"People replacing boots that used to last for years found the new pairs leaked and the soles separated from the uppers after just a few weeks' wear. These were not the durable boots Alaskans were used to, earning the new name: "SORT-OF-TUFs,'" Begich wrote.
"This precipitous decline in quality was apparently linked with moving manufacture of the boots from Rock Island to China. Almost 300 good manufacturing jobs left Rock Island, and the Chinese have simply not been producing the same quality U.S. workers delivered."
The move from Rock Island, Illinois to China has not only been linked to a decline in the quality of the Alaska staple, causing both Alaska retailers headaches with the increase in returns and exchanges , but has also cost American jobs. Begich invited Honeywell to provide insight into reforming the U.S. tax code to fix measures causing companies like it to ship jobs overseas
In the letter addressed to David Cote, Honeywell chairman and CEO, Begich also invited the company to come up with a "Make it in America" incentive approach. Begich has proposed numerous changes to the tax code and is a cosponsor of the Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act.
"My concern is the decision to relocate manufacturing was not made solely on the basis of basic business sense, but may have been influenced by incentives in our convoluted tax code that encourage moving jobs offshore and out-sourcing businesses," he wrote.
Begich did not miss the opportunity to inquire about the famed XTRATUFS beer koozie. A copy of the full and signed letter is attached.