Friday, July 25, 2014

WEDC to hold its board meeting at China outsourcer

Here's more on the absurdity of Gov Walker's quickly-backfiring ads against Trek bicycle. Walker's pet "jobs creator" organization, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), has its next Board meeting on Monday, and it's located at the headquarters of Briggs and Stratton Corporation in Wauwatosa.

The choice of Briggs and Stratton is interesting enough, as they recently claimed they were going to move jobs from Georgia into Southeastern Wisconsin. Briggs also said they would discuss giveaways "incentives" that Briggs and they would get as part of this alleged jobs expansion, and I would guess this might be part of this WEDC Board meeting, since WEDC usually hands out these kinds of giveaways incentives.

As I mentioned earlier this month, you should be skeptical of Briggs' announcement, and not only because it's similar to the announcements of Wisconsin corporations such as Plexus and and Eaton Corporation earlier in Walker's tenure in office- jobs that not only never were added, but instead ended up being outsourced. You should also be questioning this because Briggs and Stratton's CEO just completed 2 years as the Chairman of the Board of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce - aka the Wisconsin GOP's economic policy puppetmasters-, and Briggs executives have given over $30,000 to Walker throughout the years. The timing of the "jobs expansion" announcement at Briggs happened just as a load of bad jobs news was hitting Wisconsin and damaging Walker's re-election campaign. So yes, the timing of the announcement seems more than a little convenient.

And what's doubly interesting about this WEDC Board meeting being at Briggs and Stratton is that Briggs has also done the same strategy Plexus and Eaton has- outsourcing some of its operations to China, including this move from 2012.
Briggs & Stratton Corp. said Thursday that it plans to cut about 460 jobs and stop selling gardening products through big retailers as demand for its goods shrinks.

The company, which is based in Milwaukee, is shifting some manufacturing work from an Alabama plant to another plant it has in China, or to contractors elsewhere in Southeast Asia, to save costs.

The company has been cutting back because of weaker demand for lawn and garden products in Europe and the U.S. due to the weak housing market of the past several years. The recent economic deterioration in Europe has further hurt demand. The cuts announced Thursday follow Briggs & Stratton's January announcement that it would close a plant in Tennessee and shift the work to Georgia, eliminating about 690 jobs in the U.S. It also said it would close a plant in the Czech Republic, cutting 77 jobs there.
So I'm sure WEDC Board Chair Scott Walker will bring this up in Monday's meeting, given that he's now found religion against the practice of outsourcing. I mean, just look at the new WisGOP billboard that's going up around the state tying Mary Burke to China outsourcing (oh wait, scratch that, WisGOP took that billboard down after 1 day after it was revealed that they used Russian stock photos).

Let's see if the media uses this WEDC Board meeting to finally ask real questions about why these Wisconsin companies are selected for tax credits over others, and to pin down Governor Walker and his administration on whether his anti-Trek ads are a general disagreement with outsourcing. If so, then it'd be quite a turnaround for the guy who took WEDC staff on a weeklong trade trip to China- on the taxpayer dime of course. If not, and he has no real problem with Wisconsin companies outsourcing, then he's just a desperate, hypocritical candidate throwing mud against the wall because he's losing the election.

So Scotty, which is it?

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