The chief executive of Gibson Guitar Corp., which has been the target of two federal raids in the past two years over the exotic wood it uses to make the instruments, said Thursday he wants Obama to show some concern for the nation’s job creators.
“It’s not easy to compete on a global basis,” Gibson's Henry Juszkiewicz told Fox News. “We’re competing with Chinese, European companies. We’d like to feel like we’re respected and help create jobs.”
Juszkiewicz was House Speaker John Boehner’s guest at Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress on Thursday night, in which he unveiled a $447 billion plan to jumpstart the weak economy. Boehner's invitation to Juszkiewicz was a shot across the bow to the president, whose agenda of regulations and new taxes is seen by critics as anti-business.
Federal agents first raided the Nashville company in 2009 over suspect wood shipments from Madagascar. Gibson took that case to court but has denounced the administration with a vengeance after agents returned late last month to raid several Gibson factories -- this time out of concern that Indian export laws had been violated.
Gibson's CEO has said repeatedly that the only reason his company is in trouble is because U.S. workers are completing work on guitar fingerboards in the United States. He has suggested that his troubles would go away if he used foreign labor.
On Thursday, he said his company’s track record of hiring Americans – 580 in the last two years – is now in jeopardy at a time when the economy can least afford it.
“Our employees’ jobs are at risk. Our business is getting shut down,” he said, adding that the dustup with the feds is causing business concerns. “We’re competing with other companies that aren’t facing the same treatment.”