Foxconn Springs a Surprise for its Wisconsin Factory Plans

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

When we last checked in on Wisconsin’s plans to add a Foxconn plant to the southeast corner of the state, there was a lot of skepticism. None of that skepticism has abated, despite cheerleading from Gov. Scott Walker.

The governor -- currently locked in a tight race for re-election -- remains very bullish that this manufacturing facility, which could receive up to $4 billion in public subsidies if it follows through with its contractual plans to create 13,000 jobs in the Badger State, will come to fruition.

But there’s a new wrinkle to the Foxconn development saga: Foxconn might not build the type of factory it originally agreed to build! The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this week:

“In a shift from its stance of two months ago, the company on Wednesday did not offer assurances that it still plans to build the type of liquid crystal display panel plant the contracts cite.

“Known as Generation 10.5 fabrication facilities, or fabs, such plants are the largest and most expensive in the display industry. They produce very large panels, such as 65-inch or 75-inch television screens, that are cut from ultra-thin pieces of “mother glass” measuring about 9.5 feet by 11 feet.

“Foxconn’s original plans last year called for building a Generation 10.5 plant, and both the state and local agreements reached with the company define the project that way.”

The company is instead planning to build a Generation 6 plant which is smaller, less costly, and makes less expensive products. This has made some Wisconsinites very antsy.

Foxconn is saying to just be cool, man: It “is still planning for an advanced fab facility in the near future after the completion of the first phase. Whether it is Gen 10.5 or something else depends on the market and economic situations at the time.”

Hmmmm. Foxconn is playing super lose with those promises, it seems, while Gov. Walker put billions of dollars of subsidies on the line for this project. Hope those "market and economic situations" line up in time! In the meantime, we got a line and we’re sticking to it (to paraphrase Alliance for American manufacturing President Scott Paul):

We’ll be excited about the Foxconn plans when we see actual paychecks going to workers in Wisconsin. And we’re still a long way off from paychecks.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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