I wish everyone up here in the Union states – especially the ones racing to emulate the political and economic policies that have made places like Mississippi and Alabama the gardens of Eden they are today – could be forced to read a little about what is happening to the components of the auto industry that have been fleeing southward for the last thirty years. The UAW is staking its future on being able to unionize southern manufacturing and parts facilities with little success so far and none appearing likely in the near future. That says more about Southern politics than about the contentedness of the people who were only recently so excited about all of them jorbs comin' down from the North. Some members of the new industrial workforce in Dixie aren't terribly happy now that they are starting to figure out that you can earn more at Taco Bell than in The Factory.
Cleveland, Mississippi is on the top ten list of shittiest places I've had the misfortune to see firsthand in this country. It's home to a parts factory making auto seats for Faurecia, a massive French company with 274 factories around the globe. You don't build a factory in Cleveland, MS because you want to take advantage of the skilled labor force or well-developed infrastructure. You build a factory in Cleveland, MS because some Governor named Buck or Sonny or Cooter told the State Legislature to give you $100 million in tax breaks and new highway construction and you want to pay your workers as little as the law will allow. Then you proceed to pay your workers as little as the law will allow while explaining to them that you're actually paying them quite a lot for the decrepit backwater in which they were unfortunate enough to be born and either unable or (unwisely) unwilling to leave.
Protesters say Faurecia employees make a top wage of $11.64 per hour, while contract workers make $7.73 an hour.
Company spokesman Tony Sapienza said that with overtime, the typical Faurecia employee makes more than the $27,000 a year that is the median wage around Cleveland. Wages are often low in the heavily impoverished Delta.
"We are very confident that we are offering a very competitive wage," Sapienza said.
In other words, $7.73 per hour ($16,000 per year at 40 hours) with no benefits is a lot of money for You People! And it should be noted that $8.03 is the estimated "living wage" in Cleveland. For one adult. With no dependents.
Much like handing a pedestrian in Mogadishu $100 would make him rich by the standards of his peers, the entire logic of moving industry southward is and always has been "We can pay these (hicks / colored people) next to nothing and they'll be thrilled with it!" And it has worked for a while. But even in Cleveland, MS people are starting to figure out that a factory job with a maximum hourly wage of $11 – with half the spots filled by contracted temp labor making a why-bother $7.73 per hour – isn't much of a step up from the $8 or $9 per hour that most fast food chains are paying these days. What did Mississippi really get for whatever ridiculous buffet of subsidies they slopped in a trough for Faurecia? A factory half-filled with people making under $30,000 per year and half-filled with temps making barely over the poverty line. Oh, and someone's nephew making $150,000 to run the place. Even Management salaries are subject to the local cost of living argument, otherwise he'd be making a half million.
Take a good, hard look, Wisconsin. This is your competition, and these are the "jobs" that people like Gov. Homonculus are promising to bring to (or retain in) your state. If only you'd stop being so greedy and agree to work for next to nothing, maybe Job Creators wouldn't be forced to take massive bribes from Southern governments to give your job to someone who will be thrilled to earn the Federal minimum wage.
At least for a while, anyway.