Thursday, June 21, 2018

Foxconn exec: Why don't the little people in Wisconsin appreciate what we're doing?

Apparently Foxconn executive Louis Woo thinks that I and the majority of Wisconsinites who question his company’s project should be a little more grateful.
From where Woo sits, Foxconn is bringing to Wisconsin high-paying jobs, billions of dollars in investment, transforming the economic structure in Wisconsin, and attracting other global business.

"No matter how we look at it, it should be a good thing. In fact, an extremely good thing. And I would imagine when I walk down the street of Wisconsin, people should be rushing to me and patting my back and saying, 'Thank you, Mr. Foxconn. You guys are really helping us out doing the right thing,'" Woo said.

Yet the flat screen plant has come under harsh criticism for the state's agreement to use government funds for Foxconn incentives in exchange for job creation.

"I just don't understand -- because I thought the economy would go beyond politics. What is good is good regardless of who proposes it. Regardless of who's doing it. Fortunately, we are a global company. We are not a Republican company or a Democratic company. We are a global company," Woo said.

Why aren't the Cheesheaded subjects more loyal?

That’s right you peons. Don’t ask why billions of your tax dollars are flowing down to the corner of the state to pay for a major multi-national corporation to set up shop. Don’t be upset that your roads and schools are falling apart and that we face years of budget deficits because all the money is being sent to Foxconn. Just be glad they’re providing jobs at all, dammit!

And this whole “transforming the economic structure” argument? I’m a bit skeptical on that claim, given that Foxconn is already changing what they plan to make at the facility in Racine. Woo admitted this week that the Foxconn plant isn’t going to produce the screens they originally claimed they would. That also means there won’t be another company setting up a glass factory nearby, as was originally promised with the Fox-con.
Woo said the change in plans is about producing a wider variety of screen sizes and is still the latest technology. A Gen 6 plant would allow Foxconn to produce screens for items ranging from a notebook computer to a central display in an autonomous vehicle to an 80- or 90-inch television.

“The Gen 6 would give us a lot of versatility,” Woo said.

He said a rapidly-evolving high tech industry and shifting supply and demand characteristics drive the change in plans. Building the first thin-film-transistor or TFT-Fab in the U.S. will give the company the opportunity to explore new display technologies or other semiconductor processing technology on glass…

Bob O’Brien, a partner at Display Supply Chain Consultants, told BizTimes in May a Gen 6 plant produces roughly 5 foot by 6 foot panels while a Gen 10.5 plant produces 10 foot by 11 foot panels. He also said a $10 billion investment makes sense for a Gen 10.5 plant, but a Gen 6 plant would require a $2 billion to $3 billion investment.

The second phase of what Foxconn calls the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park could include a Gen 10.5 plant, Woo said, and adding a glass plant would likely be a necessity at that point.
Oh, and there will also be fewer workers inside the Foxconn plant, as they are likely to be relying more on automation. That was revealed by Foxconn executive Alan Yeung in an address to the Greater Milwaukee Committee last week.
“I think what that means is more robotics,” he said, noting much of the work has focused on advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 techniques.

He said that would result in an increased reliance on highly trained workers.

“Many of the workers or our personnel down there will no longer be your old-fashioned, blue-collar workers, many of them will be knowledge workers, developers, engineers (and) professionals,” he told the GMC audience.
Sounds like cool stuff, but it wasn’t what was sold to the public by Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP when they signed off on the multi-billion dollar Fox-con package 9 months ago. And that “robotics” line should especially raise red flags, because that means there will be a lot less than the “13,000” BS that Scott Walker still tries to trot out in his taxpayer-funded junkets.

While it’s a good thing that Foxconn has officially closed on a downtown Milwaukee building for its North American headquarters, even that has its sketchiness. The building was owned by Northwestern Mutual Life, whose employees have given Scott Walker over $246,000 over the years, and the transaction sure seems like a nice way for NML to get out from under a failing asset. And they get to sell it to a business in Foxconn that will have plenty of taxpayer subsidies to offset that cost, and free PR from the Foxconn-cheerleading corporate media in Milwaukee. Win-win-win!

I even reserve a sideways look about Foxconn’s announcement that they will install a $30 million system to treat and reuse water at their (15% subsidized) facility in Racine. This would lessen the amount of Lake Michigan water they plan to use from 6 million gallons a day to 2.5 million.

Funny that they just reveal this now, a week after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources granted a hearing to contest Racine’s planned diversion of millions of gallons of Lake Michigan water using public resources to solely help a private corporation. It seems like an obvious motivation is to assuage citizen anger about that fact, but it also seems to be leading toward a better outcome for everybody. That’s not a bad thing…other than the fact that Wisconsin taxpayers will be paying $4.5 million of that $30 million system in tax credits (and you thought this Koched up WisGOP crew didn't encourage sustainability!).

Here is what Mr. Woo needs to understand. The problem so many of us have with the Fox-con isn’t that there’s a new business being built in Southeastern Wisconsin. It’s that we’re giving you billions of tax dollars in subsidies and infrastructure improvements to do so, along with taking people’s homes, and eradicating our environmental laws.

And Mr. Woo, you need to understand that the rest of the state is seeing a decline in roads, schools and other services because we allegedly don’t have enough money to afford it. Now throw in the fact that your Foxconn factory won’t bring anything close to the jobs that you and Scott Walker claimed it would, but you will still get the same improved highways, property tax abatements, and improved infrastructure.

You see why we might be a little touchy, and why a lot of us would be happier if you just packed up and went away before we throw more money down the hole of the Fox-con? That interview on Fox 6 was a “Let Them Eat Cake” moment, and it just made the already-deep hole that you guys were in even deeper.


  1. Yeah, those were taxpayer dollars that were supposed to go straight to your union pockets, weren't they, bitch? How'd that work out for you?

    Get back to us with more advice on how to run a multi-billion dollar company, K, sport? Maybe try to meet the payroll of a fucking lemonade stand first.

    1. tsk, tsk. touchy, touchy :)

    2. Well WeaselCoRepug, you can't have it both ways. Remember? Your "friend" Scotty effectively got rid of unions with Act 10 and right to work. The only public unions are the firefighters and police, the ones that protect your sorry A$$

    3. No those are taxpayer dollars that could have gone toward roads, schools and helping business create jobs throughout Wisconsin.

  2. Give me brand new infrastructure, and an exemption from rules everyone else can follow, and I'll do a helluva lot more for this state than Mr. Woo. And at a much lower price than $250K a job, and I sure wouldn't walk around like I was a king whose feet need to be kissed by the vassals.

    CEOs really aren't visionary or bright on the whole. In fact, many of thmm take a lot more than they contribute. If you ever got a real job and an ounce of self-respect, you'd recognize that.

    The Fox-con a boondoggle, and it keeps looking like a worse deal the more you look at it.

  3. I think WashCoRepub must be Mike Mikalsen, I long time public employee and aid to Steve Nass. I don't really care who he is but that's who he reminds me of.

    1. Nah, seems too snotty and childish. He dedinitely seems to be a GOP hack, but I think he's probably some 25-year-old PoliSci brat who has never held a real job.

  4. Me thinks the ol Germantown boy grew up a little and realized that with no marketable skills he can earn a decent living being a tool of rightwing extremists once he earns his moron creed.

    1. Yup! All it costs you is your soul. And there will be plenty of wingnut groups to pay you to troll, and try to distract from crooked boondoggles like the Fox-con.

      Heck, one of Tim Russell's former jobs for Walker was to be "WICalvin" on the JS Comments board.