I have been very bothered by this article since reading it yesterday. (Warning; it is fairly long.) As a long-time prior resident of Vermont, I know that there is a great deal of pride surrounding anything related to winter sports in that state. Vermont skiers and snowboarders have reached international attention in competitions. A source of pride is the Burton snowboard company, a small Vermont start-up approximately 30 years ago and still working closely with top performers in the sport.
I knew young folks who worked there, were paid very well, and loved the company. But over the years many have been let go for business (economical) reasons. Now the remaining crew in their basic manufacturing facility in VT will be laid off when the plant closes its doors, moving all manufacturing to Austria and China. (They already have plants in operation in those countries.) All due to the cost of doing business in the US.
No, it won’t have the same effect as if GM shut down, putting thousands out of work. But it’s the same, isn’t it? There is a base pay that the American worker must earn in order to afford to live. Add to that the employer’s costs of property and business taxes, materials, transportation, and then the dreaded “H” word (healthcare). It just makes more sense for the company to relocate overseas.
Burton was born in Vermont. I guess that’s why so many folks are upset at seeing their “baby” leave the state. And Vermont is not “business”-friendly. It’s hard for new companies to come in, given restrictions and regulations, maybe rightfully so.
Their R & D operations will still stay but the production line, where a good worker could apply for a job, is going. It is hard enough to find a job. If you don’t have technical skills, it is harder when manufacturing jobs leave.
Why do I go on about a company who I neither purchase from nor work for? Probably because it is just another notch closer to economic hardship for us all, happening many times over every day. We’ve sent all our potential employment overseas, giving our economic safety net to someone else.
Throughout my life, I’ve worked in many manufacturing facilities in one way or another. There was security in those jobs. Decent pay for hard work. I felt good at the end of the work week. I wish my grandchildren could have that satisfaction.