Sunday, January 25, 2009

Magma Take Two

CBS News 60 Minutes tonight featured a piece on Wilmington, Ohio and the closure of the DHL Airpark. Eight thousand workers have lost their jobs. The town has a population of 12,000. As I watched the segment, I experienced deja vu back to 1999, when the small town of San Manuel, Arizona suffered the shut down of its copper mine and smelter.

The parallels are compelling. Both organizations started as successful American companies committed to their employees and their communities. Then top management and major shareholders smelled a quick buck, the sale of the companies to huge foreign corporations. In the case of Magma, the buyer was BHP of Australia. In the case of the Airpark, the buyer was German DHL. In both cases, the "merger" was a fiasco where arrogant buyers barged into successful enterprises convinced they could make it better, resulting in catastrophic losses. Who pays? Those LEAST responsible, the workers who had everything working right in the first place. The DHL closure is NOT simply the result of the current economic meltdown. DHL is shutting down because the overpaid goons across the ocean completely screwed up a well run operation they did not understand.

Why does this country allow foreign organizations to buy our companies, destroy them, and then throw our citizens out of work? The BHP fiasco, of which I have extensive knowledge (the nature of my departure and subsequent employment at the agency processing the laid off workers gave me an extraordinary vantage point), threw 2600 people out of work. The DHL atrocity put 10,000 workers (total US) into unemployment, with the ripple effect costing thousands more Ohioans their jobs.

If you work for a successful company, and it manages to sell itself to a foreign corporation at great profit to senior management, and the know-it-alls start arriving from overseas to tell you how to do your job, update your resume and start applying elsewhere. The ship is going down.

It will be your fault.

My heart goes out to the people who worked for decades and devoted their lives contributing to the success of an organization that thought nothing of tossing them in the street. In the case of Magma, some of the workers were third and fourth generation employees for the company.

Oh well.


Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

We saw the piece and we just cringed. I'm a Buckeye, by birth, and I wondered -- how many of you poor stiffs voted for GW Bush -- TWICE. We can thank his policies for getting us into this mindset. Yes, individuals had to decide to go for a house that was too big and a car that was too expensive.
He continued to haunt us and will for generations. Special place in hell for GWB.

1/25/2009 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We will be paying for the crimes of greedy slime for generations.

1/26/2009 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

50,000 jobs cut today.

1/26/2009 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Make it 68000. Human lives.

1/26/2009 3:29 PM  

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