While we're on the topic of plants closing and moving to Mexico, last Thursday there was this story in the L.A. Times: "Hershey plant to kiss Oakdale goodbye." Hershey is closing the doors of its plant in Oakdale, California, moving all 575 jobs to Monterrey, Mexico. But it's not just this one plant:
The 113-year-old company has described the plant shutdown as part of a "global supply-chain transformation." Some 3,000 of Hershey's 13,000 workers will lose their jobs, including as many as 900 in the company's hometown of Hershey, Pa., where the streetlights are shaped like Kisses. By 2010, Hershey says, the moves will save shareholders as much as $190 million annually.
"The financials are compelling," Chief Executive Richard H. Lenny told a meeting of market analysts in February, saying labor costs in Mexico are 10% of those in the United States. Asked about the negative publicity that would come with the plant closures, he said the decisions were "gut-wrenchingly difficult — but in the best interests of the business."
The article mentions protesters and a Hershey employee who said, "Milton Hershey's ideal was stability for families, but there's none of that anymore. There's no more moral connection between business and working-class America." Sadly, the words of these outspoken folks will probably fall on deaf ears as Oakdale's congressional representative, George Radanovich (R-Calif.), has a 100 percent anti-fair-trade voting record, having voted wrong on 15 out of 15 trade votes since taking office in 1995.