During World War II the coal miners’ union went on strike; in 1950 Korean War President Harry Truman reached outside the Constitution and nationalized steel companies because of their union problems. During the Vietnam War, the San Diego Machinist Union local went on strike.
When, then, union leaders stood up and loudly complained about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it was my pleasure to throw boing hot rhetoric on the complaining unions and their sycophantic Democratic office holders; hypocrites all. The whine campaign of union leaders and Democrats against an agreement that portended drops in consumer prices for all Americans was sickening and sheer hypocrisy.
A perfect example of political hypocrisy and perfidy has recently come to light in the exposure that Democratic Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly is the former General Counsel and major stockholder in his family’s business in Indiana. A business with a factory in Mexico.
Since Donnelly’s election to the U.S. Senate and in recent months Donnelly’s family company — Stewart Superior Corp. and its subsidiaries have shipped tons of raw materials to its Mexican factory where Mexican men and women assemble raw materials for finishing in a California plant. This is done duty free in both directions and uses Mexican labor that is paid far less than their Indiana counterparts. This is a wise use of resources and the company should utilize it as much as possible. That is a good and profitable use of resources that enables the company to make profits. That is free enterprise.
There is nothing wrong with the trans-border movement of goods to and from Mexico for assembly or finishing. Only less-than-intelligent union leaders and the Democrat politicians they own lock-stock and barrel complain about this very profitable business model.
Donnelly accused United Technologies (UT) and its Indiana subsidiary — air conditioner and furnace maker Carrier — of exploiting $3-an-hour workers when it announced plans to move some Indiana factory jobs to Mexico. Candidate Donald Trump made the Carrier plan an integral part of his campaign and threatened giant defense contractor UT with a stiff tariff on any air conditioners made by Carrier in Mexico imported into the U.S.
Despite his political tantrum against Carrier’s moving to Mexico, Donnelly collected 2016 dividends ($15,001 to $50,000) from Stewart Superior which were profits from its Mexican factory; Stewart Superior’s web site says that the company’s Mexican factory “brings economical, cost competitive manufacturing and product development to our valued customers.”
This, according to the Associated Press’ studies of public documents. This is not fantasy by U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Washington lobbyists or Mexican lovers. Just facts.
Hypocrisy is the norm among politicians and union leaders. Who would call for a strike over a few cents per hour during time of war then turn around and decry sensible business models that utilize superior factory work by people who used to scratch pennies from tiny plots of corn, who? The hypocrisy is that when those former subsistence farmers decided to go to work in Golden California, who complained about them taking American jobs?
Is it not better for those former dirt farmers to work in Stewart Superior’s Mexican factory in Mexico and earn enough they don’t have to come to the United States? Is it not better for Indiana’s voters to throw hypocrite Senator Joe Donnelly out of office in 2018? I say yes.
Contreras is the Author of THE ARMENIAN LOBBY & U.S. FOREIGN POLICY (Berkeley Press 2017) and THE MEXICAN BORDER: IMMIGRATION, WAR AND A TRILLION DOLLARS IN TRADE (Floricanto Press 2016), he formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.