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The announcement that a German company is opening a small manufacturing facility in Wisconsin brings up a question that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable:

Is this another case of a European company coming to the United States for the cheap labor?

As contrary to the stature we're accustomed to the United States having in the world, this is a very real trend. Ikea, a company that has done just fine in Sweden with strong unions and a $19 minimum wage, came to Virginia and started its employees at $8 per hour, with many of them temps at lower wages and no benefits. T-Mobile, owned by a heavily unionized German company, fights unions here. BMW recently drove down wages by laying off unionized workers at a California distribution center and outsourcing their jobs to a subcontractor. But in South Carolina, BMW skipped ever having a union, paying its workers $15 an hour, half what German BMW workers make. The kicker:

"We are a low-wage country compared to Germany," said Kristin Dziczek, director of the Labor and Industry Group at the Center for Automotive Research. "And that helps put jobs here."

The jury is still out on the jobs coming into Wisconsin; they're being billed as "desirable" and "good family supporting" jobs by the mayor of Brookfield, Wisconsin, but those $15 BMW jobs in South Carolina drew applicants who had previously been managers and supervisors of large construction projects and distribution centers. The standard for a desirable job, in other words, has deteriorated somewhat in the United States. Oh, and Wisconsin is projected to get just 27 new jobs by 2015 from this deal, for which the state provided tax credits.

We worry about American jobs going overseas to lower-wage countries. But in the mean time, we're becoming the low-wage country that Germany and Sweden send jobs to—jobs Americans line up to take and feel lucky to get.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Interesting. A Few New Foreign Auto (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, DaleA, tmo, Tinfoil Hat, Noor B

      places have opened where I live. They are union. It is wrong to think that foreign countries don't have union shops in the US. It just seems, and I hate to say this, that is only the case in the south.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:25:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I assume that you mean auto parts, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bronte17

        because AFAIK, none of the auto transplant assemblies are unionized, spare contracted work with American owned plants.

        http://www.economicpopulist.org

        by ManfromMiddletown on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:33:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That Is Not True n/t (0+ / 0-)

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:35:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My Comment Was Flip (0+ / 0-)

          My best understanding is you got auto plants south of the Mason-Dixon line (hate to use that phrase, but it is ape here) and they are not union. By me they are union. Jobs folks are willing to fight for.

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:41:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The Toyota /NUMMI plant was union, but (0+ / 0-)

          that was shut down 2 years ago. Aside from that I am not aware of any other unionized auto plants. Mitsubishi may have had some in the past back when they were badged as Colts.

          •  None are unionized (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ManfromMiddletown, mithra

            But VW Chattanooga is a prospect.

            However, I believe some foreign owned auto parts manufacturers are unionized.

            Ultimately, if workers get fair wages and working conditions, whether or not they are unionized is probably irrelevant, but it's nice to see VW has an open mind about it.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 09:30:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Union still matters (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AuroraDawn, TexasTom, koNko, breakingranks

              with the exception of Honda, the transplants match UAW contract rate.  But, the issue that arises is the use of permatemps, and serious issues with workplace injuries that are left unaddressed. The Japanese model works on an inside and outside labor force in Japan and in the US. The inside force has good pay and benefits, but the outside force (in Japan typically Brazilian Japanese or Filipino) recieves none of this.

              http://www.economicpopulist.org

              by ManfromMiddletown on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 02:05:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  In the longterm it's very relevant... (5+ / 0-)
              if workers get fair wages and working conditions,  whether or not they are unionized is probably irrelevant

              Without a union there is no way for workers to ensure that they continue to receive those "fair wages and working conditions".

              First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

              by AuroraDawn on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:37:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have doubts about that. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                breakingranks

                Not to say unions cannot have that effect, but simply that in the US unions represent so few workers.

                I believe unions can be part of the solution and laws must be part of the solution.

                At the point that American Unions ceased being a significant force to change laws and focused internally on the benefits of their members I think many became a private club and began to decline.

                That is reversible, but how, when and to what effect is my question.

                Unions need to recapture the popular imagination. Without populist support, they are irrelevant and in the US there seems not to be much support, WI an exception and perhaps an exemplar.

                Some people interpret my criticisms of unions as being anti; that is mistaken. Good unions work - " more and better " ?

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:15:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Within 200 Miles Of Where I Live There (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko

        is a huge Toyota and Mitsubishi factory. I made a stupid mistake, while on a camping trip with a guy that works at the Mitsubishi plant, saying something like you said in this Diary. He is getting paid well. Good benefits. Could not be happier with his job. I mean he'd wish his job on others!

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:35:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I live within 10-12 miles of a Toyota plant (0+ / 0-)

          in Georgetown, KY and I can tell you with absolute certainty that only a select few gain the coveted jobs while hundreds of others work diligently for 3-4-5 years to gain the equal status... and they never do.

          It's a Russian roulette that is played with American workers. Some win, some lose. And the winners sniff down their noses at the losers and label them as inferior for not attaining the equal work status.

          And it has nothing to do with the person themselves and everything to do with the corporate culture and what they get away with.


          The true way is along a rope that is not spanned high in the air, but only just above the ground. It seems intended more to cause stumbling than to be walked upon. --Franz Kafka

          by bronte17 on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 04:14:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It it different anywhere? (0+ / 0-)

            In manufacturing, a majority of people are hands on and a minority leads, supervisory or management.

            The better the company, the flatter the management and the fewer non-direct heads. By definition, that creates an "elite" if you want to put it that way, but it tends to promote secure, skilled jobs for workers.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 08:41:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We're not talking management here (3+ / 0-)

              We're talking normal line jobs.

              Some are hired on... others are "temporary" workers for many years on end... scammed along by the promise of finally making the cut to a real permanent job if they just behave and stay tightly in line and never miss a day of work, etc...


              The true way is along a rope that is not spanned high in the air, but only just above the ground. It seems intended more to cause stumbling than to be walked upon. --Franz Kafka

              by bronte17 on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 09:15:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I repeat: Is it different anywhere? (0+ / 0-)

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:20:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Are you asking anywhere in the (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  snazzzybird, mimi

                  advanced nations? As Japan, Germany?

                  The difference there would be the foreign workers have the temporary jobs. But, for the citizens... no, they do not spend their lives spinning through temp jobs with no healthcare.

                  You have universities here who actively encourage this temp job mentality. Not providing healthcare is a given. And culturally acceptable.

                  It shouldn't be.


                  The true way is along a rope that is not spanned high in the air, but only just above the ground. It seems intended more to cause stumbling than to be walked upon. --Franz Kafka

                  by bronte17 on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 06:52:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  What is the definition of "well paid"? (0+ / 0-)

          I suspect in the $45-$55K range at the very most (while most of his/her colleagues are at considerably less, probably starting at half of that).

    •  Yeah.... (9+ / 0-)
      we're becoming the low-wage country that Germany and Sweden send jobs to
      They "send us jobs" - jobs with no benefits and low wages. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad people are finding employment, but it's sad that we've reached a point where people are thrilled to get a job that pays $8 an hour and offers no benefits , with an employer that fights unionization tooth-and-nail.

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:35:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  America, the backwater. (7+ / 0-)

      This has been the plan since Reagan got into office. Turn America into a nation of wage-slaves run by oligarchs.
      Mission accomplished, jerks.

      The only silver lining I see in all of this is that the very people who drooled while Rush Limbaugh indoctrinated them are themselves working for half what they should be making. For now they blame the unions and Democrats, but one day even they will figure out that they've been screwed. Well, most of them. The Teabaggers will still be stupid as wet crap on stale toast.

      "Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed." — Herman Melville

      by Spiffarino on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 08:54:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  wow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle, JeffW

    talk about ironic.

  •  this is GREAT NEWS! (8+ / 0-)

    We HAVE WON THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM, PEOPLE!  How can this be in any way depressing as all fuck, or upsetting, or a complete validation of everything DFH's have said for decades about globalization?

    WE WON! YAY US!

    Just in case you forgot today: REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE. AND THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN.

    by slippytoad on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:19:37 PM PDT

  •  so does this (4+ / 0-)

    make us officially third world?

    are we now a developing nation?

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:23:50 PM PDT

  •  expect European candidates to start railing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, slippytoad, Glen The Plumber

    about outsourcing to America.

    I was with the unions before it was cool. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:32:47 PM PDT

    •  Not really though.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TrueBlueDem, Ritter

      As someone who follows Swedish politics, that's not really the case.

      With Swedish wages (and constant real wage increases, something the US hasn't seen in decades!), over 80% unionization, long vacations, comprehensive welfare, etc they gave up any idea of competing on wages long ago.

      Outsourcing is nevertheless unpopular, but overall the idea isn't that they should even be trying to compete with countries like China in the first place. They strive to play to their strengths, focusing on high-tech and high-quality products, making use of their educated work-force in a way that China and others can't. They're more focused on increasing productivity and competitivity than on saving jobs in areas where they have little prospects of competing in the future.

      Take the Swedish steel industry, for instance. They can't compete with China on ordinary steel, so they focus on quality and specialty steel, which China doesn't manufacture. Even the US can't do it, which is why the Swedes are largely exempt from Bush's tariffs on steel. (Which was our protectionist 'solution' to the competition problem)

      (Of course, why should we listen to those 'socialist' Swedes? ;) With their unions and high taxes and 5.7% GDP growth last year, lower unemployment than the US, and no national debt, and recent ranking as the "most competitive economy in the world by the World Economic Forum)

      •  Why we're not Sweden (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueDem, snazzzybird, Ritter

        I work with a lot of mid to small machine shops--in the South no less! Many have carved out successful niches making high precision parts in small lots. Their advantage over producers such as China is top notch quality coupled with quick delivery times. Their biggest problem: finding qualified machine operators. Even in the South a good machine guy can pull down $50-60K which in many rural areas affords a house, truck and boat.

        So if these jobs are there, why are there no workers? Simple: no training programs. We've never seen the benefit of investing in our human capital through robust community college programs or apprenticeships. Even worse, now we're cutting education budgets across the board. These short sighted policies will saddle America with a permanent underclass and condemn economic growth to the low single digits.

  •  Somehow I don't feel that proud being quietly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, Glen The Plumber

    compared to, and competing with emerging nations for low wage and no benefit jobs.  I also find it distastful that every state in this country competes against each other to lure these foreign companies by giving away their communities and resources for these jobs.  

    Yeah, We're number 1.....?!!?!

    Another "American Exceptionalism" moment, brought to you by:  

    Globalism International, "We Make The World Turn",

    And.......

    The members of the W.T.O. who are both proud sponsors of this program.

    "You can't always get what you want; but if you try sometimes...." - Rolling Stones

    by LamontCranston on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 02:42:22 PM PDT

    •  So then the US is above it all? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kascade Kat

      In almost anywhere but the US people welcome foreign direct investment as an opportunity.

      Maybe it's time for Americans to take stock of the world they live in and realize the US is not an island, but part of a world where they can compete for the opportunities that exist, if taken.

      Your rhetoric seems to reflect an attitude that the US has lost an entitlement it would otherwise have kept were it not for " Globalization" but that is a fiction; the world has been trading for millennia and more recently the US was at the top of the heap.

      That it has fallen to No. 4 of the OCED nations hardly puts it t the level of emerging nations and if you honestly believe that perhaps you should see how the rest of the world lives, including the average German worker.

      Good quote in your sigline.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 09:58:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, not an entilement at all. I know very well (6+ / 0-)

        how the average German lives as my wife is a German national, and we have traveled to Germany and many other E.U. countries many times over the past 21 years to visit her family and my relatives in Greece as well.  It might behoove you to travel here in the American South and see just how and what it takes to work in a "Right To Work" state, and then you'll see what I am referring to.  My comment about comparing us to an emerging country was sarcasm, and I obviously know that we are not an "emerging country", economically speaking (but racing toward it fast).

        And yes, I do not feel proud about my country falling down in such a fashion as compared to the other modern industrial nations.  We should be better, and we can be better, but we are way off the mark of even beginning to get back on track.

        No, not an attitude of entitlement as you wrote, but rather a sadness of the current condition as it was my family who emigrated from Europe many decades ago and came into this country through Ellis Island.  It was their story and it was those immigrants who were the ones along with many others from many other countries who came for their dreams, and who worked and made this country great at one time because they made a better life for the next generation, and that impacted on the entire society which also collectively benefited from the hard work and accomplishments.

        "You can't always get what you want; but if you try sometimes...." - Rolling Stones

        by LamontCranston on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:58:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nothing wrong with a little attitude (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        breakingranks
        Your rhetoric seems to reflect an attitude that the US has lost an entitlement it would otherwise have kept were it not for "Globalization"...

        That certainly might be one reaction. It would be justified it were.  American workers don't have to settle for substandard working conditions unless we want to admit that's all we deserve.

        Another reaction might be the success of the progressive argument.  We've been arguing in favor unions and collective bargaining.  Now we're seeing what happens without what we've advocated.  Some gloating can be excused.

        Building a better America by hammering the Right

        by Joe Steel on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:59:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting case in point: (6+ / 0-)

    Sergio Marchionne has become something of a hero in the U.S. (and President Obama has been seen with him frequently) for saving Chrysler and its American jobs.  Marchionne is also the CEO of Fiat and here in Italy the man is reviled for threatening to move Fiat somewhere else if the unions don't meet his labor demands.  Marchionne is constantly comparing the U.S. and Italy, claiming that if Italy fails to meet American productivity and "flexibility", Fiat has no future there.  

    And the frightening this is that American auto workers still represent something of a protected class of labor in the U.S.  The cuts and compromises forced upon them are not admired here in Europe.

  •  A few Chinese companies have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, koNko

    started manufacturing in the US as well. Nothing compared to large number of US companies moving manufacturing to China.

    •  And they are mainly success stories (0+ / 0-)

      And include cases where CN investors have saved plants and saved jobs because they are willing to take the long view and build business instead of being driven by quarterly profits.

      This is a positive Americans should encourage because most of the economic growth in the world today comes from developing nations and will continue to do so, and these deals open doors to opportunity.

      But I find Americans, in general, are strangely negative toward FDI unless they live in very depressed areas, where they understand having a job is better than not.

      Sorry I'm a bit rushed so can't post some links but if you are interested in some of these cases I can later.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 08:54:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well, its come full circle hasn't it? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, koNko

    I think in the age of globalization we need to take a second look at labor issues. There will always be some country somewhere that will be able to provide labor at lower wages. And companies will do it if they can.

    So we advocate for unions and fair wages in America and companies just leave. The same thing is happening in Europe. Only they come here.

    the question is: how to protect fair wages? it seems that as individual countries this would be next to impossible. There is no "global commerce regulation" that says all countries need to do such-and-such.

    I don't see how we stop the snowball.

    It's the difference between losing a fight and refusing one. (h/t Kossack james richardson)

    by mdmslle on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 03:24:06 PM PDT

    •  A true industrial policy would help (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ahumbleopinion, breakingranks

      The small prosperous countries of the world (mostly but not entirely European) recognize that it's in the national interest to have a manufacturing base and good jobs for working people. That creates a stable society and a strong revenue base to fund government services.

      They designate some industries as strategic and fight to keep those jobs at home through infrastructure investment, education, research, innovation, business development and partnerships.

      Meanwhile, our country is in danger of being taken over by people who believe the earth is only 6,000 years old and that the Rapture will take place any minute now. . .

      "He not busy being born is busy dying" -- Bob Dylan

      by Kascade Kat on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:07:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We can't even stop pur own states from bidding (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      breakingranks

      against each other and giving away their taxpayers money to "attract jobs", which more often than not is just an excuse to line a contributor's pocket, aka a bribe hiding behind some fancy words.

      “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

      by ahumbleopinion on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 08:28:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The US is not a low wage country. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    offgrid, Utahrd, Kascade Kat, mithra

    Foreign companies invest in other countries for a lot of reasons, including wages, but in the auto industry it is increasingly a strategic move to be competitive in regional markets as the industry consolidates in developed markets and seeks growth in developing markets.

    You might want to study the structure of German industry more to understand how they operate and the role of mittelstand such as the company you mention.

    Many of the best jobs in europe and particularly Germany are in small to medium sized companies that are generally company or association owned, well managed and stable employers who develop their staff.

    This company may be only creating 47 jobs, but if they are good jobs that's progress for the local community. And perhaps, if these companies set an example how SMEs can succeed in a globalized world it may help other local companies to survive and prosper.

    Is it only large employers like Walmart who deserve attention?

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 09:45:22 PM PDT

    •  I've consulted in Europe (5+ / 0-)

      with some of those mittelstand and their Scandinavian equivalents.

      Moving jobs here is much more about being located near key customers and suppliers, and much less about wages and benefits.  If they were only concerned about cost, they'd go to China.

      Of course they pay prevailing local wages, which are lower than they would be in Europe.  Cost of living, taxes and benefit packages are different, so wages alone are not an apples-to-apples comparison.

      It would be nice, though if they gave the Americans the same holiday and vacation benefits. . .

      "He not busy being born is busy dying" -- Bob Dylan

      by Kascade Kat on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:56:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        breakingranks

        And I don't mean to suggest the mittelstand model is an ideal fit for the US, but there might be something to be taken from this experience particularly in respect to how they have successfully globalized over the past few years, which was a significant change than the very " local" orientation of these enterprises as recently as 10 years ago.

        A lot of tech company SMEs in the US have duplicated this but the numbers in terms of economic effect may not be great.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:05:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Large companies don't create jobs (0+ / 0-)

      The Kauffman Foundation, which does a lot of worthwhile research on entrepreneurship, produced a study pointing to the importance of fast-growing young firms in creating jobs. According to this paper, 40% of new jobs are provided by 1% of firms. You probably have a good idea of who these companies are. Link below.

      http://www.kauffman.org/...

  •  Hasnt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    breakingranks

    this been going on for awhile.

    I think that over 1/3 of all corporations in America, and it's probably higher since the crash, are owned by foreign companies.

    •  More Markets Are Becoming Almost Entirely Foreign (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      breakingranks

      owned.

      We have to sell out our infrastructure because we aren't going to sell nearly enough goods and services to support the dollars we've sent out by increasing our imports.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:44:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I saw a teabagger headed to Wisconsin last Monday. (5+ / 0-)

    I live in Chicago.  I was driving home on Monday morning when I pulled up beside and then behind a Chrysler PT Cruiser.  The back of the Cruiser was plastered with bumper stickers such as "It's time for another tea party" and the like.

    Now, I come from working class stock.  I recognize working class stock.  This teabagger was a worker bee who had been manipulated by the astroturf tea party meme into working against all that worker bees stand for and need.

    How will we ever cure the ignorant and the gullible?

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:42:53 PM PDT

    •  It's gets worse. (0+ / 0-)

      My wife's sister and brother in law have been living mostly on social security since he became disabled about 25 years ago. Every time we see them we are treated to a dose of Tea Party ideology and whatever happens to be Rush's rant du jour. Near as I can tell, Obama is the Anti-Christ who wants to take away their social security and give it to illegal immigrants, for whatever bizzare reason.

      Go figure.

      I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

      by itsjim on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 07:26:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Was the Whole Point of Globalization (5+ / 0-)

    But most Americans are going to have to earn a whole lot less than we're presently earning before very much foreign employment comes back, other than to certain niche sectors.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:45:01 PM PDT

  •  Kind of says it all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    breakingranks

    Words fail me.

  •  Look at the bright side. (4+ / 0-)

    Now we can see what third world sweatshops look like without leaving home.

    Building a better America by hammering the Right

    by Joe Steel on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:49:49 PM PDT

  •  Didn't I just make that joke (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, breakingranks

    the other day? It was supposed to still be a joke.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:57:16 PM PDT

  •  Ummm...Donkey in the Room... (4+ / 0-)

    Perhaps people wouldn't be so anxious to take low wage jobs if our lovely leaders had actually made jobs a priority by now.

    When there aren't enough jobs to go around, people aren't as picky as they might otherwise be.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:59:56 PM PDT

    •  All Part of the Plan (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sure more than one of the so-called Economic Experts has considered this and thinks it's a good thing. In a tight job market, employers have more workers to chose from, don't have to compensate as much, and can even get away with cutting wages and benefits since the existing employees will hesitate before quitting.

      This is the dream economy for Republicans! Their vision is the "entrepreneur" (or corporate ruling class) should create a machine that "produces" money, and they should get all the spoils for their "vision". They have absolutely know stake in building a quality of life for the middle class: that only reduces their "deserved" largest share.

      Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

      by breakingranks on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:45:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac

      Kind of makes one feel like a 12th dimensional piece in an 11 dimensional chess game.

      Every morning I wake up and am glad just to have a job -- and that really pisses me off.

      I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

      by itsjim on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 07:32:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Job Fair yesterday (3+ / 0-)

    here in Central Texas, for 30 jobs at a diesel engine manufacturing plant. The pay? $10.90 and hour, no benefits, as a contract employee, with the possibility of being made a staff employee at $10.90 with benefits in a few months.
    That's at a new Caterpillar plant.

  •  This is what they want. (4+ / 0-)

    The multi-nationals and the wanna-bees do not care about the us.  They care about their global domination.

    Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

    by Back In Blue on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:28:20 PM PDT

  •  "Made in America" (3+ / 0-)

    So these days when Europeans see sometime marked "Made in America" do they just assume it's inferior quality goods?

    •  depends on what it is (0+ / 0-)

      industrial heavy machinery I think is much respected. art and handcrafted items as well. Mass produced consumer household items ... not so much.

      THINK instead of PREVIEW. Change the button, Markos, In memory of Meteor Blades.

      by mimi on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:20:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Finally winning the race to the bottom. (3+ / 0-)

    Yay America. Yay.

    "Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed." — Herman Melville

    by Spiffarino on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 08:46:02 PM PDT

  •  This is so sad to me. (3+ / 0-)

    My dad was a truck driver.  My mom was a factory worker.  They struggled to rear three children.

    Today, I am the beneficiary of my parent's sweat and toil.  I started as a laborer in a paint factory.  I survived Vietnam, but because of social programs such as the GI Bill, I grew into a profession...healthcare...that I love and that has been very good to me financially.

    What nags at the back of my mind is what has happened to opportunity in our country?  Not everyone has the intellectual capacity to gain a graduate professional education.  What happens to those who have much to contribute, but do not have the intellectual wherewithal to make their contribution in the ethereal ranks of the educated?...I wish that I could express this better.  The World could use more good plumbers and fewer mediocre philosophers.

    What truly saddens me is that there are no longer very many jobs in our country that pay an adequate wage to any who do not aspire to professional graduate degrees.

    I was so lucky to have had access to a decent paying job after high school and when I returned from Vietnam.  Those good paying jobs are few and far between today.

    Let's re-create those jobs via government sponsored projects...such as the Hoover Dam of yesteryear...to re-build and improve our infrastructure.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 09:16:35 PM PDT

  •  Sweden (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    breakingranks

    My husband worked for a Swedish software company who said they were a small country who wanted a certain lifestyle for their people.  They had to find what they could do best to support their country.  Time for some American citizens to break up into groups and do the same ignoring the race to the bottom led by Wall Street, Republicans and some Democrats.  A pox on the US leaders if they think we should be slave labor.

    •  The New Middle East (0+ / 0-)

      This is the source of a lot of unrest even in the "rich" companies of the New Middle East. Those countries are trying to support a "standard of living" for their own citizens by importing cheap - and often outright slave - labor from the poorest countries in the world.

      As the global economy levels resources, there are fewer poor people to exploit. People who were previously living middle class lifestyles now sink because someone has to do the work of their former slaves.

      Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

      by breakingranks on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:39:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hah! Sweden indeed (0+ / 0-)

      What a coincidence.  I was working for years in a senior capacity (where I was fortunately able to negotiate my own deal because they needed me) for a service provider that was backed by a family from Sweden invested in a diversified set of things, many in Europe.

      They even had interests in other tech companies in various sectors of Europe--the silicon-valley-gone-brie big area between Nice and Cannes in France, for example (I forget what the somewhat manufactured industrial city a la Milton Keynes UK around there that centers it is called).  Anyways, and this of course isn't an evil thing on their part, they've been putting bigger investments into their US properties with each ensuing market/jobs/sector swoon.  Effectively, by underpaying the market by some 15-20% for core/operational talent, the hope is you pick up enough people scared in each economic downturn that you end up roping in something of a backbone at getting-towards-third-world wages.  And then hope that the market races down to meet you.  I mean, it's great it provides jobs, kinda crummy that its looking to erode the upward mobility of technocal professionals.

      The U.S. at its current rate in the tech sector is rivaling or surpassing former W. Hemisphere outsourcing areas like Canada and Northern Ireland.  The one "saving grace" (heavy sarcasm, but true) we have in terms of not being competitive with any even near-low-wage sectors is the expectation of, and unpredictability of pricing for, health care insurance in my industry.  This is where crap-crummy health care plans had a slight boom in the 90's/early 00's, until their "benefits" became moot with the field-levelling effects at least here of the Massachusetts Health Care reform (i.e., "Romneycare", although it was only signed by Romney because the Boston-area hospital sector, a huge portion of the state economy, was looking to shutter or relocate unless something was done to avoid liabilities for uninsured patients).  Anyways, once again, the state of private-sector heath care adds economic anxiety and uncertainty, only in this case for foreign-owned or -capitalized industries.

  •  Bayer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, Ritter

    Bayer in Berkeley also relies heavily on temp labor, keeping temps in the same or similar jobs for as long as 5 years. In an era where "permanent" full-time employees are only kept as long as the project last, this definition of 5 years as "temp" seems ridiculous.

    Furthermore, Bayer colludes with temp agencies to abrogate the most important right a temp has: the right to leave as soon as the contract ends. Temp agencies working with Bayer assert that they have the right to renew a contract without consulting the worker, and they can even do it over a worker's objections. They call this "extending" the contract (infinitely).

    I'm pretty sure this is illegal, but where can a temp resort to complain? Either complaining or refusing to return to work once the original contract has ended will get you blackballed for temp work.

    The US should think hard about how they are lowering the quality of life for their citizens before they work so hard to attract foreign companies. Berkeley gives tax breaks and even grants to Bayer. They celebrate Bayer as "investing" in our community whenever they give some cheesy donation to a city project. Yet Bayer clearly abuses temps, and lays off the few full time workers they hire on a regular basis. The top managers are imported from elsewhere instead of raised up from the bottom. Like most corporations, there's a large base of lower class clerical and operations, and a thin layer of "classy" people who spend all their time playing power games.

    Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

    by breakingranks on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:33:41 AM PDT

  •  Success! (0+ / 0-)

    Isn't this what our leaders have been trying to achieve?

    U.S. maquiladoras.

  •  Well, it's creating jobs, so I'll take it (0+ / 0-)

    But it's kind of sad that the labor situation in the US is so bad. We have to increase minimum wage and mandate better benefits.

  •  Some people will never learn (0+ / 0-)

    The textile industry moved from the northeast to the south to offshore. The shoe industry moved from the northeast to Brazil, not sure if there was a southern stop, to Asia. Somewhere in the world there is a worker who will labor for one or two dollars a day and think they have died and gone to heaven. Can't imagine what the wages of a worker are when the product they make can travel half way around the world to wind up on the shelf of a dollar store.

    Depressions may bring people closer to the church but so do funerals - Clarence Darrow

    by nomorerepukes on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 06:36:00 AM PDT

  •  welcome to the neoliberal wonderland (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bryduck

    Well of course.  Don't you think that this is exactly what right wingers and neo-liberals want?  They want to turn america into a 3rd world low wage nation.  

    Free trade has never lifted all boats and it never will.  It has sunk them though.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 06:41:25 AM PDT

  •  BMW... (0+ / 0-)

    ...pays significantly more than most other manufacturing employers in the Greenville-Spartanburg area.

    -5.38 -4.72 T. Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

    by trevzb on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 11:47:01 AM PDT

  •  SC-Gov Nikki Haley... (0+ / 0-)

    ...just this week was trumpeting German investment in South Carolina. I sent her a tweet (she follows me) that said "Great! We can be Germany's Mexico."

    And here we are.

    -5.38 -4.72 T. Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

    by trevzb on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 11:48:50 AM PDT

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