Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another one down

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.


farmlady said...

I'm afraid that the day is gone when a company like my husband worked for, here in California, can see generations of families work out their lives in one place. The world has changed and this country has made many mistakes; one of the biggest being overseas manufacturing. If we ever get back to some balance again we better get it right or we will lose the America that folks came here for in the first place.
My son spent a year looking for a new job after being laid off. He and his family had to sell their home at a loss and now the state of Calif wants him to pay taxes on the money the bank lost on his mortgage. It's disgraceful!
I'm so worried about our country and all the people who just want to work hard for good pay and support their families.
Someone better start paying attention or there will be another revolution.

Maria said...

I didn't know Burton was leaving. How sad! And how many other companies have already left not only Vermont but right here in CT. I worry daily about my job. I also pray and so far so good, but we don't know what tomorrow brings.

Robj98168 said...

That is too bad. Very much the way things are. Compnaies move overseas for cheap (and in many cases "Child Labor")and until our congress does something about it there will indeed be a revolution, Think the French revolution. Used to be that I was raised on the theory that you went to work for a factory/manufacturing company, did good work, got a fair wage and then you bought a home, spread your dollars around the economy and lived a good life. That was the american dream. Of course there was some loyalty from the CEO's and corporate fat cats at that time as well. Now they are all suits that only look at a bottom line. Buttheads.

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Farmlady,
I'm sorry to hear about your son and his family, not only losing their home but being charged for taxes on the LOSS! I hope they will be able to get back on their feet soon.

Hi Maria,
We really shouldn't have to worry about our jobs if we're good workers, should we? Hope for the best, prepare for the worst....?

Hi Rob,
Yes, I was raised on that American dream, too. Our dollars were spread around but mostly STAYED in America. And we were happy. Now it all seems like it was a dream...kinda like watching "American Graffitti" on a Saturday night.