When I Bite Into a York Peppermint Patty, My Job Goes to Mexico

ImageToday, Hershey closed down its Reading, PA plant after 23 years of production, and moved 300 jobs to Mexico. Teamsters President Jim Hoffa asked a good question, when are we going to tell these companies that enough is enough?

Teamsters President Jim Hoffa said, “That plant stood for decades in Reading, providing countless families with good wages and job security. Members of this community helped build that company and this is how they are repaid. Hershey’s actions are unconscionable in this economic climate. Pennsylvania lost nearly 60,000 jobs in the last quarter of 2008 and the estimate for the month was well over 30,000 jobs lost. When are we going to tell companies like Hershey that enough is enough?”

It is interesting that this occurs on the same week where Obama visited Canada, and changed his tune on NAFTA. On the campaign trail Obama suggested withdrawing from NAFTA, but this week he said that he wants to do things that will grow trade between the U.S. and Canada, “I provided Prime Minister Harper an assurance that I want to grow trade, not contract it.” Obama said that he wants to change NAFTA without hurting trade.

Hoffa asked a really good question. When is it enough? There isn’t much of a manufacturing sector in the United States, but I do give Obama credit for not selling the false bill of goods that other candidates have sold in the past, that he will bring the manufacturing sector back, but he can’t tell labor that he is against NAFTA while going to Canada and softening his tone. I don’t think that there is an easy answer here. I would expect more jobs to be leaving as state and local governments can no longer afford to give the generous tax cuts that have been used to lure these kinds of jobs in the past.

What Hershey did in Reading was morally wrong, but corporations are not moral creatures. They are judged strictly based on profits, and moving jobs to Mexico increases profits. Obama wants to replace these jobs through his green economic plan. If this works, expect labor to be very happy with him, but should the green jobs be slow to materialize, Obama and organized labor could be on a collision course that only the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act would prevent.

8 Replies to “When I Bite Into a York Peppermint Patty, My Job Goes to Mexico”

  1. At no point ever did Obama suggest pulling out of NAFTA. Ever. Renegotiating is not the same. I like making things up, too…

  2. Hey, Mister Hoffa.

    How about quit wasting union dues on romancing politicians and maybe bring back the old “Buy Made in America” campaign ????? Spend some of the poor working slob’s money on educating the other schleps, instead of trying to buy politicians.

  3. Pulling out of NAFTA and raising tariffs sounds great but they won’t work. Suddenly tariffs are piled on our exports and sales plummet. A whole new cycle of retaliatory tariffs begins again. Nobody wins and everybody loses. We can’t hold a gun to a CEO’s head and demand that they bring their company back to the U.S. Between lower labor costs and tax breaks, why would they want to? They’re in business to make as much profit for their shareholders as possible and that means holding down production costs. Before any serious movement of jobs back to America is to occur, the tax laws are going to have to be changed and labor productivity will have to be dramatically raised to make it more expensive to produce goods out of country than it does here. Lamenting about how things have been or used to be will get us nowhere. We have to find ways of doing things for less to bring jobs back home and keep them here. Capitalism thrives when cheap labor is available to be exploited. We don’t have cheap labor but we do have other ways of increasing productivity so our labor is competitive. That’s what we have to focus on.

  4. Tariffs don’t work? So I guess we should settle for slave labor in foreign countries instead?

    We CAN’T increase productivity by infinity, or any level close to that, in order to make our American labor competitive to slave labor! And even if we could increase productivity by a dramatic amount, it would be a short time before other countries with labor to expoit – especially China and India – would steal or buy those those ‘productivity secrets’.

    One of the FEW things I agreed with Candidate Obama with – when he spoke about it – was dumping NAFTA (at least the Mexican part) and fighting this whole “free trade” nonsense.

    Capitalism thrives when cheap labor is available to be exploited? I guess we should go back to slavery then!

    My solution – the only one that makes sense to defend American jobs and to get rid of slavery elsewhere is to raise tariffs and taxes on ALL products imported here (including all imported workers who are being used to outsource American corporate workers in areas like IT) – to a level of what they would cost to make here based on environmental laws, labor costs, etc… Level the playing field. Cause uprisings in those countries, and at those corporations which want to operate off US soil, because the countries and evil companies want to exploit their workers and steal American jobs and American wealth by doing that exploitation!

    And the only thing America really exports nowadays, besides its wealth, is food and weapons. If countries that want to exploit their workers to steal our wealth don’t want our food or weapons, so be it. That won’t hurt America in the long run either…

  5. My favorite candy but I will not eat any food made in Mexico.
    Its a shame & I do blame unions- get rid of unions,Let the plants take care of their own employees. Unions not useful any more- demands is their key word & not for sucess either.
    Like change for Obama but good or bad change, I don’t think its for the better but to turn our country into a socialist place.
    Sad days ahead for America…
    The name America will be changed soon.

  6. When we heard about this, our family decided to boycott ALL Hershey products. PLEASE DO THE SAME…send a clear message!! Where can we but American anymore???

  7. I just found out about Hershey! I’m astounded. I’m wondering if the label says made in Mexico. Shouldn’t they be required to do that? I’ll have to check on all of my favorites now, and not buy them if they aren’t made here.

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