Former Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe has become something of a front man for American manufacturing, pushing for a resurgence in blue collar work and speaking out about the dangerous “everyone should go to college” mentality. Now, he’s catching flak for teaming up with America’s largest retailer.
Last night, Walmart unveiled a new ad, promising to invest billions in American products to help create manufacturing jobs. Rowe provided the voiceover. Check it out:
The ad is part of a new commitment from Walmart to expand their American-produced selection of goods. The company is often demonized for selling too many goods made in China.
Rowe took to Facebook to defend his partnership with Walmart, answering specific criticisms from people who have attacked him online. Here’s a sample:
“Mike – Walmart was the last thing I would ever think you would do anything for! Why?
That’s easy. Walmart has committed to purchase 250 billion dollars of American made products over the next decade. In essence, that’s a purchase order made out to the USA for a quarter of a trillion dollars. That means dozens of American factories are going to reopen all over the country. Millions of dollars will pour straight into local economies, and hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing positions will need to be filled. That’s a massive undertaking packed with enormous challenges, and I want to help. I want to see them succeed. Don’t you? Honestly Kevin, who gives a crap about your feelings toward Walmart? Who gives a crap about mine? Isn’t this the kind of initiative we can all get behind?
Rowe is right that we should all get behind this initiative. Walmart isn’t asking for taxpayer subsidies. Walmart isn’t even asking for their detractors to shop there. In an move that embodies corporate activism, Walmart is doing what they believe they can do to spur the American manufacturing economy. That’s something to give them credit for.