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Action Alert! Tell Furniture Retailers not to Boycott American-Made Furniture
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
December 21, 2003

Now is the time to make your voice heard to retailers like American Furniture Warehouse Company and Value City Furniture. Both companies have said they will no longer buy from furniture makers that have signed the so-called "anti-dumping petition" that, pending a favorable decision from the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission, could impose tariffs as high as 250% on Chinese-made furniture.

The anti-dumping petition, which has been led by Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company, Hooker Furniture Corp. and La-Z-Boy, Inc., alleges that China is illegally dumping furniture in the United States. Vaughan-Bassett vice-president Doug Bassett says that his company has a duty to protect both American workers and shareholders, and that the only way that the U.S. Commerce Department and International Trade Commission will agree to the tariffs is if it can be proven that China is illegally dumping their furniture in the U.S.

American Furniture Warehouse Company has nine stores across Colorado and Value City Furniture has 80 stores in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Both companies have decided that signers of the petition are companies that they would rather not do business with. Mickey Holliman, chief executive of Furniture Brands International, which includes Broyhill, Land and Thomasville brands, is not boycotting signers of the petition but says he prefers to do business with non-signers, while mentioning his company plans to keep transferring production and jobs from the U.S. to China. Representatives from Rooms To Go, Rhodes, Haverty's and J.C. Penney have also criticized the petition. And although they aren't calling for an outright boycott of petition signers, they prefer to do business with those companies that have not signed the petition as well.

Furniture industry analyst Jerry Epperson says he thinks the petition can gain enough momentum to be a success. Some furniture retailer executives, like Jeff Seaman of Rooms To Go, didn't think the petition would go anywhere at first, but is now worried. The injury to the domestic furniture industry is "very provable and documentable" according to Epperson. Furthermore, statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that the wood bedroom furniture segment alone has lost 106,000 jobs in the last four years, and nearly 15% of those job losses have occurred in North Carolina.

The time to take action is now, before the January 2nd ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission. You can email Value City Furniture at VCF.Furnituremaster@vcf.com and tell them you won't be setting foot in their stores unless they stop boycotting American furniture makers and threatening the jobs of the American workers at these companies. You can of course send your own comments, or you may send an email similar to the sample provided below. Their website is www.vcf.com. A website or email address for American Furniture Warehouse Company could not be located, but their phone number is (303) 799-9044. How ironic they are located at 8820 American Way in Englewood, CO.

Dear Value City Furniture,

Your boycott of the furniture manufacturers that have signed the China anti-dumping petition is anti-American and threatens the jobs of hard-working Americans in the domestic furniture industry. America has already lost over 100,000 jobs over the last four years in the furniture industry, and your boycott will only add to those job losses.

I am calling on you to stop boycotting Vaughan-Bassett, Hooker Furniture and La-Z-Boy and any other signers of the anti-dumping petition, who are only seeking fair trade and looking out for the interests of their workers and shareholders. They are looking out for what's best for America. Why will you not do the same?

Unless you stop your boycott of the petition signers, I will make sure I never buy furniture from any of your stores, and will encourage my friends, co-workers and associates to do the same. I will make sure they understand you are against Buying American, fair trade, preserving American living standards, and that you support policies that put more Americans in unemployment lines.

It is well-documented that furniture imported from China is causing serious injury to American workers in the domestic furniture industry. Your reaction to those companies that have signed the anti-dumping petition will only cause further injury. Stop the boycott now! Be American and Buy American, or we will not buy your products!

Sincerely,

Your Name

The American furniture industry is but one American industry that needs to be saved from the jaws of free and unrestricted trade. We need to make sure those companies who don't support Buy American policies will not get our support. Make sure you let them know that you will help them feel it in the pocketbook where it counts! If all they care about is their bottom line, let's help make their bottom line bottom-out!


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