How do you feel about the Cash for Clunkers program? Have you done any homework? The top choice for participants was Toyota. Now, mind you, many Toyotas are made here in America, and provide badly needed jobs. More on this program in a later posting.
But now there are rumors of a similar program for appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, etc. And this industry, like many others, has been hit hard by the economy.
But let us all remember that the purpose of any well designed stimulus effort is to ultimately get American consumers buying again. And the critical apex is the individual consumer, who has a job.
One way to shape how this might pan out is to tell your elected officials that you are concerned that one of the main beneficiaries of such a progam, Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR), based in Benton Harbor, Mich., is eliminating its manufacturing plant in Evansville, Ind., destroying about 1,100 full-time jobs by mid-2010. These jobs will be moved to Mexico. There are another 300 jobs that are also up in the air. Let’s guess what Whirlpool executives will do to them?
This is what Al Holaday, vice president, North American Manufacturing Operations for Whirlpool, had to say.
“This was a difficult but necessary decision. “To reduce excess capacity and improve costs, the decision was made to consolidate production within our existing North American manufacturing facilities. This will allow us to streamline our operations, improve our capacity utilization, reduce product overlap between plants, and meet future production requirements.”
“We are announcing this decision nearly one year in advance as part of our commitment to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
Nice work. But he says the same thing, every time they axe jobs. Nice gig, Mr. Holaday. Get your MarCom folks to write a shiny bit, practice it, make it your own. You can even say it while you are using your treadmill. Here is a quote from last year.
‘These decisions, while difficult, are an important part of our overall operating plans, and will help ensure that we remain competitive in North America,’ said Al Holaday, Vice President, Whirlpool North America manufacturing. ‘The changes are in no way a reflection on our employees at either the LaVergne or Reynosa facilities, whose contributions we greatly appreciate.’
Do you think Whirlpool will even pass on the incredible savings they’ll achieve in reduced labor costs to you, the American consumer? No way. Funny how that happens. Cheap foreign labor justified as a means of lowering the cost to the consumer. Show me some good examples of this in action. Good luck finding one.
Here is another good one. Rising costs. Steel is way down, Mr. Holaday. So is oil. Where are those lower costs to the consumer?
Tell your Congressman you want to see corporations that stand to benefit from such government sponsored giveaways to at least give something back to Americans. That is the ultimate goal of any stimulus program, right?