BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Great bits from Americanprogress.org.

Please read the following. (I'm being lazy.)

ECONOMY
The Timken Tall Tale

On 4/23/03 President Bush visited the Timken Company in Canton, OH, and touted the company as a demonstration of the success of his economic policies. Bush said "the future of employment is bright for the families that work here, that work to put food on the table for their children." Yesterday Timken announced it is slashing 1300 jobs from its work force, a quarter of its employees in Canton. Bush said that Timken would be successful because "high productivity that comes from steady innovation and skilled workers gives our economy a tremendous edge." But, announcing the layoffs Timken revealed that "production at the Canton bearing plants has declined 27 percent over the last five years." Timken employee Shawn Higgins said "How can I afford to get married, afford a house payment, maybe kids, if I don't have a job?" Timken went forward with the massive cut even though the major "job creation" programs the President highlighted in his speech last year – an income tax cut, a dividend tax cut and a small business tax cut – subsequently became law. The Timken announcement was "just the latest in a northeast Ohio area hit hard by the loss of manufacturing and other jobs." Overall, Ohio "has lost about 155,000 manufacturing jobs since Bush took office."

(If you remember this Bush visit...it was a classic Bush appearance to a turbo-Bush crowd.)

TIMKEN ATTEMPTING TO BUST UNION: Timken said that it is paring back operations in the Canton plant because it believes wages there are too high and health care benefits too generous. The Union president, Stan Jasionowski, said that Timken "never ever gave us any formal proposals" to reduce costs at the plant. Jasionowski said that he believed the layoffs were "a ploy to destroy the union in the bearing factories."

(Gee...ya think?)

TIMKEN EXPANDS OPERATIONS IN CHINA: As Timken fires workers in Ohio it has expanded operation abroad, especially in China. On 1/31/03 Timken announced it "established a distribution center in Shanghai, China." In 2002, "The Timken Company and NSK Ltd. formed a joint venture to build a plant near Shanghai...production is expected to begin first quarter 2004."

TIMKEN MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO BUSH: W.R. Timken, the company's chairman of the board, is a Ranger – meaning he has raised at least $200,000 for the Bush campaign. Timken's political action committee has donated $10,000 directly to Bush and $235,000 to his political allies. Other executives have chipped in $12,500 since 2000. Timken was a member of the Employers' Coalition on Medicare, a group of heavy Bush contributors who lobbied for the new Medicare law which rewards companies with a tax subsidy even if they reduce retirees' existing drug coverage.

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