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Labor 411

Shireen Alihaji 'We Made it Here' Wins Best Non-Song

Labor 411's panel of experts selects the best commercial for buying American and Union

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by Labor 411 on
Jun 06, 2018

A powerful hip hop anthem about the pride a man takes in a long day’s work. A haunting ode to the hands that built American industry. A fast-paced celebration of American-made products. And a passionate plea for companies to invest in the USA. These are the four winners of the United Auto Workers’ “Make it in the USA” contest, which called on entrants to create videos focused on the value of manufacturing and buying products domestically.

The contest was judged by a celebrity panel that included Sean Combs, Ashton Kutcher and Tom Morello. Each of the winners will receive $5,000.

The contest was part of the UAW’s BuildBuyUSA campaign, which focuses on the message that when we make products in the United States, we also help our local communities thrive. Union leaders said they were overwhelmed with the response.

“This contest touched a nerve,” said UAW International President Dennis Williams. “Americans know that domestic manufacturing is the key to strengthening American communities and all of the winning videos deliver that message with creativity, power and emotion.”

“I made this video with my partner Jaime Ballesteros. This project reflects years of work documenting the stories and struggles of American workers. We wanted to share that struggle- but also the sense of hope that is never far behind,” said Shireen Alihaji of Pasadena, California, whose “We Made It Here” won in the Best Non-song category.

The “Make it in the USA” contest was inspired by the popular “Look for the Union Label” jingle, which ran in television ads in the 1970s. The United States has lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The contest was judged by:

  • Singer, actor and entrepreneur Sean Combs, who founded Daddy's House Social Programs, an organization that helps inner city youth through programs including tutoring, life skills classes, and an annual summer camp.
  • Actor, investor and philanthropist Ashton Kutcher, who was named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and is widely known by audiences from hits like “That ’70s Show,” “Dude, Where’s My Car?,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Punk’d;”
  • Tom Morello — Grammy Award-winning musician, groundbreaking guitarist and legendary member of Rage Against the Machine;
  • Four-time Emmy-nominated cinematographer Michael Goi, whose credits including American Horror Story, Pretty Little Liars, Glee and My Name is Earl;
  • Songwriter, musician, and voice actor Dan Navarro, who’s written songs for and recorded with musical legends including Neil Young, Jackson Browne and Andrea Bocelli and lent his voice to hit movies and TV shows including Talladega Nights and American Dad!
  • John Acosta — President of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47, which represents more 7,000 professional musicians in southern California;
  • Heather C. McGhee — President of Demos, a public policy organization working for an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy. Ms. McGhee is a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher.
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