Mexican firm buys O.K. Industries | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mexican firm buys O.K. Industries

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Sort of ironic. The day after Whirlpool announced closure of its big plant in Fort Smith, with the remaining side-by-side refrigerator work going to Mexico, comes news that a Mexican firm is buying O.K. Industries, the Fort Smith-based poultry company. Terms not disclosed. The unit will continue to operate as O.K.

PS — Ken Aden, Democratic candidate for 3rd District Congress, has issued a statement on the Whirlpool closure that gets to the meat of many issues in the U.S. today.

"The news yesterday that Whirlpool will be closing it's plant in Fort Smith is horrible, but it's hardly a surprise. Whirlpool has been shifting jobs out of that facility for years. In 2006, the plant employed 4600 people in the Fort Smith area. Today it employs none. To those who lost their jobs, I can offer only my heartfelt sympathy for you and your families. Whirlpool's decision years ago to shift more and more of it's production to Mexico is a direct result of the kind of disastrous trade deals that keep exporting middle class jobs to other countries—and are supported by my opponent.

I think it's important to keep this closure in mind when you look at the increase in revenues and profits, year over year, that Whirlpool reported today. This wasn't an issue of an unprofitable plant, this was an issue of squeezing more profit out of cheaper labor overseas. This is, of course, wildly inconsistent with the company's statement that the reason for closing the plant was lack of demand—leading some to question whether the move was really about sales or about the slightly higher costs of skilled American labor. Count me among those asking that question and doubting seriously that this was anything other than a large manufacturer abandoning the people who've made it successful for decades.

While Whirlpool won't admit it, the real issue is reducing manufacturing costs and the easiest, most tax beneficial way, is to take advantage of manufacturing outside of the US. It's hard not to excuse Whirlpool for taking advantage of loopholes granted to them by Congress and members of congress like Steve Womack. All that's left for the people of Fort Smith is getting rid of the people who put those loopholes in place in the name of free—not fair—trade.

My opponent's recent vote for three more of President Obama's job-killing free trade agreements was one of the most inexcusable of his short tenure in Congress, given the desperate employment situation in his own district with manufacturing employment down more than 36% since 2000. While his constituents suffered, Womack voted to make it easy for their employers, some of whom were contributors to his campaigns, to move their jobs. He then talked about all the cheap goods that free trade brings, without mentioning the difficulty the unemployed have in buying products—like refrigerators—without an income from a job.

The people of the 3rd District are already hurting. Their best option at this point is to make sure they do the only thing left to them: fire Rep. Womack next year. They need to remember when they go to the polls his stand with the President and against this district on job-killing free trade agreements, and his desire to continue to give massive tax breaks to his millionaire friends and donors, while doing nothing for his constituents. The people of this district must finally realize that when Steve Womack had the opportunity to really create and save jobs in Northwest Arkansas, he put partisan politics above people."

Tags: , ,


Favorite

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Jared Henderson outlines health goals

    Jared Henderson, the Democratic candidate for governor, has released a list of ideas to improve access to health care and reduce costs, leading with an end to the computer work reporting requirement for participation in the expanded Medicaid program. "Our focus needs to be ensuring that Medicaid funds are spent appropriately and effectively, not making it harder for citizens that need coverage to get it," he said.
    • Sep 18, 2018
  • Tuesday's open line and the daily news roundup

    The open line and the day's news roundup.
    • Sep 18, 2018
  • Bryant High School band withdraws from French Hill campaign rally

    The Bryant High School Band has withdrawn from a planned appearance at a campaign rally Friday for Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill after learning it was a political event.
    • Sep 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Payday lenders on the march at legislature

    Payday lenders are working hard to get legislative cover for the reintroduction of their usurious loan business to Arkansas. Some are fighting back.
    • Mar 10, 2017

Slideshows

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation