Ashley Furniture Industries plans to return more than $250,000 in job-related tax credits to the state of Wisconsin and pull out of another program that would have given it $6 million in tax credits for an Arcadia flood-control project.Huh, wonder why they didn't have the money to expand and couldn't find people to work there. It couldn't have anything to do with the story that came out last month that showed it was literally costing people an arm and a leg to work there, could it?
The Arcadia-based global manufacturing firm characterized the moves, announced Tuesday, as intended to "better align … aggressive growth strategies with the local job market and other economic conditions in Wisconsin."...
In 2012, Ashley received WEDC approval to earn credits on taxes paid based on its promise to expand the Whitehall employment base by 225 new positions by this year.
It has spent more than $200,000 to recruit workers but the number of new jobs stalled at 87 because of the limited number of potential employees in the area, the company said.
The U.S. Labor Department socked Ashley Furniture with one of the largest safety fines in history Monday after alleging repeated safety violations over 36 months that caused more than 1,000 worker injuries, including several amputated fingers.May I remind you that this time last year, Ashley Furniture's founder (a significant Walker donor) held a thinly-veiled Walker campaign event to celebrate an expansion at his plant in Arcadia, with Ashley workers as a captive audience. And note what he also had as a handout.
The $1.77 million fine resulted from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection last year of Ashley’s Arcadia, Wis., factory. Inspectors “identified 12 willful, 12 repeated and 14 serious safety violations.” Those are in addition to violations found during previous visits, U.S. Labor Department Assistant Secretary David Michaels told the Star Tribune on Monday.
“We rarely issue a fine that is more than $1 million,” Michaels said. “Having 1,000 work injuries in three years is proof positive that safety in this plant needs tremendous improvement.
Ashley and the DNR came under fire from environmental watchdogs for a 2005 addition there that required filling 13.5 acres of wetlands. Without that expansion, the company said later, most of the company’s 2,000 Arcadia-based jobs would have been moved out of state.Actually, having an unsafe workplace and paying shit wages are what's going to kill industry in the United States, because no one will be able to buy anything, and no one will want to risk life and limb working for such crappy employers.
From a table of literature spread out for visitors, [Ashley Furniture founder and board chair] Ron Wanek grabbed a flyer decrying federal regulations, including environmental, workplace and health care rules, saying, “This is what’s going to kill industry in the United States.”
Flash ahead one year, and look at this quote from Gov Walker, as he glad-handled other mediocre, arrogant businessmen at today's Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce "Business Day" in Madison.
Walker to state businesses: "Go out and sing" about positive changes in the business climate.— Matthew DeFour (@WSJMattD4) March 4, 2015
Yep, just like how it's worked in the case of Ashley Furniture, who can't find skilled workers, is maiming the ones they have left, and fails to come through on their promises of prosperity and expansion. Combine that with badly-lagging job growth, and an exploding budget deficit leading to disinvestment in education, and what's not to like?