National Review reported yesterday that Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz will attend President Barack Obama’s speech this evening. You may remember that his company, which makes some really fantastic guitars, was raided by the federal agents recently due to the imported wood they use:
Sources tell National Review Online that Gibson’s chairman and chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, will attend President Obama’s joint address to Congress on Thursday. Federal agents recently raided Gibson’s manufacturing facilities, suspecting that the company was using illegally-imported wood.
Juszkiewicz has vocally defended Gibson’s practices and denied the allegations. “There’s no doubt we’re being persecuted,” he said in an interview with the Tennessean. “But while I was sitting in my conference room, while agents blocked the door to my office, I decided two things. One, we were going to try and fight this in court. Secondly, we were going to give this issue visibility.”
Juszkiewicz will be the guest of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican. Blackburn represents numerous Gibson employees, many of whom reside in the Nashville suburbs.
Juszkiewicz contends, and there is no reason not to believe him, that the wood was obtained through an industry approved supplier. He’s also said that they government’s position is if they guitars were finished by workers in a foreign country that they would be legal. Now, I have no problem with outsourcing, but Gibson has been expanding their operation inside the United States when foreign labor would be cheaper and the government is essentially making it difficult for this to continue.
It’s an issue that deserves address, but Juszkiewicz and other business owners that could face the same problem probably shouldn’t hold their breath.