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Ellicott® Plays an Important Role in Passing of NAFTA

April 1994

Source: World Dredge Mining & Construction

For two months in late 1993, the challenge of passing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) captured the spirit and imagination of everyone at Ellicott® International of Baltimore, MD.

Because Ellicott® depends on exports, every employee understood that any treaty that promoted free trade would be good for Ellicott® and create jobs. Frequently in such cases, people write or call their Congressman. In the case of NAFTA, the commitment was exponentially greater. The following sequence of events detail the story of how a small (but motivated) group of people made a difference.

Sept. 12, 1993: Story in the Baltimore Sun features Ellicott® as an example of a Maryland manufacturer that will benefit from NAFTA.

Sept. 21: Ellicott® President Peter A. Bowe does an interview on TV Channel 45 discussing benefits of NAFTA, including how the U.S./Canadian free trade of 1988 helped Ellicott®'s exports to Canada.

Oct. 13: Ellicott® joins a delegation of senior Maryland executives for a White House briefing on NAFTA by Vice President Al Gore, Director of the Budget Lou Panetta, EPA Director Carol Browner and NAFTA "Czar" Richard Daley.

Oct. 20: NAFTA Products Day at the White House. Ellicott® is the featured company among all companies from all 50 states asked to show examples of products whose exports will increase with NAFTA. The White House asked Ellicott® to send all the employees it can to sit behind Pres. Clinton. Rain forces event into a tent, but Ellicott® steelworker Robert Scheydt, together with former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca, introduces President Clinton who wears an Ellicott® company hat. Ellicott® endorsement covered by CNN and "The New York Times". After the event, Ellicott® steelworkers meet on Capitol Hill with undecided Congressmen Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD). Ellicott®'s plant is in Cardin's 3rd District.

Oct. 27: Bowe authors an "Op-Ed" article that is published in the "Baltimore Sun" on why NAFTA is good for workers.

Nov. 1: Bowe sits behind President Clinton at "Town Meeting" national teleconference. Meeting on NAFTA at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Bob Scheydt and Lee Iacocca lead off promotional video—More than 80 cities receive telecast via satellite.

Nov. 2: Bowe and Scheydt attend special "Economic Leaders Summit" in East Room of the White House, along with President Clinton, Vice President Gore, former President Jimmy Carter, Ambassadors Andrew Young and Hills, former Secretaries of State Jim Brady and Henry Kissinger, several former Secretaries of the Treasury, and Nobel Price-winning economists.

Nov. 4: CNBC-TV show, "U.S. News & World Report Debate on NAFTA" airs. Panel includes Sen. Bill Bradley, Jesse Jackson and others, program features interviews with Ellicott® personnel on how NAFTA will help construction equipment manufacturers.

Nov. 5: ABC-TV National Anchorman Peter Jennings visits Ellicott® to talk about their pro-NAFTA views.

Nov. 8: White House calls Ellicott® to schedule visit by President Clinton on November 10th. White House advance team comes. White House cancels Clinton's visit due to legislative conflict — Big letdown at Ellicott®!

Nov. 9: Baltimore ABC-TV Channel 13 interviews workers at Ellicott® on NAFTA after the Gore-Perot debate.

Nov. 10: Ellicott® Union President Robert Gardner and Bowe, along with House Speaker Foley, Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Ambassadors Hills and Kantor speak to a special meeting of undecided Congressmen. Ellicott® personnel stop by Capital Hill Congressional offices again.

Nov. 13: Rep. William Zeliff, Jr. (R-NH), during a radio talk show refers to Ellicott® and logic of Ellicott®'s Union in support of NAFTA.

Nov. 14: Ellicott® shown on a pro-NAFTA national television advertisement prepared by the White House.

Nov. 15: Ellicott® union workers and officers speak at pro-NAFTA rally organized by all four Maryland Congressmen, including Rep. Cardin. Ellicott® personnel attend Small Business Rally with President Clinton at American History Museum.

Nov. 16: NAFTA wins! House passes NAFTA by surprisingly large vote of 234-200.

Dec. 8: NAFTA signing. Bowe attends special pre-signing ceremony, Vice President Gore specifically thanks Ellicott® for the company's help — the only company singled out by Gore or Clinton.

Dec. 23: NAFTA pays quick dividends to Ellicott® with the sale of two dredges to a Mexican road construction company. Customer names dredges after President Clinton and Mexican President Salinas.


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