Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Wal-Mart Job or Manufacturing Job?

1954: Huffy opens the Celina, Ohio, plant. At its peak, the plant produced 1 million bikes a year.

1998: Pressure from Wal-Mart forces Huffy to close the bicycle plant in Celina, putting 1,100 employees out of work. The jobs were moved to a nonunion factory in Missouri.

1999: Huffy, pressured to continue lowering costs, closes its last two U.S. bicycle plants—in Farmington, Mo., and Southaven, Miss. The move eliminates 600 jobs. The company contracts with fac-tories in Mexico and China.

2001: Huffy ends its manufacturing contracts with Mexico and begins relying almost entirely onfactories in China, where Chinese workers earn only 33 cents an hour and frequently work sevendays a week.

Wal-Mart creates good jobs? I bet Ruth Schumacher and her husband would disagree. Now Mr. and Mrs. Schumacher are dependent on Wal-Mart's everyday low prices.
Laid-off factory worker Ruth Schumacher rises before the sun most days and earns $7 per hour tending the breakfast bar at a Holiday Inn in Celina, Ohio. She would like to set out a tip jar for the occasional dollar, but management forbids it.

After work, she occasionally goes next door to shop at Wal-Mart or at Kmart one town away.

“They’ve got real good bargains,” she said of Wal-Mart, echoing a generation of thrifty shoppers.

Never mind that Wal-Mart is a major reason Schumacher no longer has a $12-per-hour job at Huffy Corp.’s bicycle plant. Five years ago, Wal-Mart pressured Huffy to lower the cost of its bikes, so Huffy closed its Celina plant. Schumacher’s job and the job her husband held at Huffy eventually ended up in China.
Wal-Mart's response?
“We are in business to take care of the customer,” spokeswoman Melissa Berryhill said. “We are going to do what we need to do to deliver everyday low prices to our customers, and we are going to go where we have to go in order to do that.”
So to get low prices Wal-Mart ships good jobs overseas thereby creating more poor people that need their everyday low prices. Excellent strategy.

Maybe if we all get minimum wage jobs, Wal-Mart will give their stuff away.


Anonymous said...

...fade in, patriotic music, lots of strings and proud brass...
Yes, we're proud to serve you, the American Consumer, and if you happen to be one of those laid off as a result of our purchasing practices, we're even prouder to offer Everyday Low Prices so you can stretch your measley pay - or unemployment check and foodstamps - as far as they will go...
Yes, Wal-Mart is proud to serve you - on a platter!
So shop with us. We're Wal-Mart, Amercia's Company Store!
...fade out on Patriotic strings and brass, somewhat off-key...

Anonymous said...

In the book The Bully of Bentonville on page 173 it says
"Even moving production to China was not enough to save Huffy. It did gain market share, but remained unable to operate at a profit. In late 2004, the venerable bicycle maker tumbled into bankruptcy court, listing assets of $138.7 million and liabilities of $161.2 million. Its biggest creditor was the company it contracted with to build the bikes it could no longer afford to make itself: the Shenzhen Bo-An Bike Co. Ltd of Shenzhen, China. In federal bankruptcy court in Dayton, Ohio, Huffy's assets were turned over to its creditors, chief among them the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation, or the Sinosure Group, an agency of the Chinese Government that provides export credit insurance to Chinese exporters like the Shenzhen Bo-An Bike Company. After years of struggling against the cut-rate Chinese bicycles that set the price target guiding Wal-Mart, Huffy essentially had become a Chinese-owned company.
Back in Celina, meanwhile a developer turned Huffy's old factory site-once a landmark of American industrial prowess-into a symbol of the nation's future as a low-wage,service based economy: He
built a Wal-Mart supercenter. When the Supercenter opened in May 2005 amid the usual hoopla, Senator Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota marked the occasion by noting sourly, "Workers who got laid off from the Huffy plant can go and purchase a Chinese-made Huffy Bike."
And this is what wants to come to Saranac Lake? I don't think so!!