Hershey and Kongsberg: We're All About Screwing Everyone!!  

I got an e-mail from my old local in Cleveland (I’m on the mailing list). They were sending us info from FLEXNEWS

Hershey announced a 3-year restructuring plan on 15 February 2007 to save up to USD 190 million a year. The company said that, under the restructuring, 1,500 jobs could be cut.

The company intends to transfer Reading production activities (York Peppermint Patties and 5th Avenue bars) to Monterrey, Mexico, before the end of 2008.

According to Teamsters’ General President Jim Hoffa, the Hershey plant move to Mexico shows how trade deals like NAFTA harm American workers. He said that about 260 workers at the plant will lose their jobs.

“These so-called trade deals are killing American jobs … They aren’t about trade, they’re about helping companies move their factories to countries with cheaper labor”, said Hoffa in a recent statement.

I’m not sure if Flexnews missed some of the point of the move or if it was IBT. Like the info I’ve posted on Kongsberg, these companies aren’t only moving for labor costs, they move for lower environmental standards and a lower tax rate for the company. They move for fewer regulatory requirements and because they don’t have to provide benefits (or fewer) to their employees. They move because they can work folks longer and not pay them more. They move because we have Free Trade agreements that gut our entire system of providing for workers, the environment, government services, and goodness knows what else.

I actually don’t buy Hershey’s because they insist on using cocoa harvested using slave labor in West Africa, specifically children in Côte d'Ivoire. This is just one more reason to continue to boycott Hershey’s, for using slave labor abroad and turning their employees out on the street here.

All in all, this is what Free Trade gets us. So, not only how does this benefit us, but explain to me how more pollution, low pay and few if any benefits actually is in the best interest of Mexico or in Kongsberg’s case, Poland?


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