GE celebrates workers while moving their jobs to China

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2012-05-2008


This video from GE showing workers in its medical equipment division in Waukesha, Wisconsin meeting cancer survivors whose cancer was discovered by or whose treatment involved GE products is really heartwarming. I defy you to watch it and not be moved. But GE doesn’t value those workers nearly as much as its public celebration of them pushes you to believe. Roger Bybee reports that:

GE has transferred the headquarters of the Medical Equipment Divisiion to Beijing, China. “Waukesha will not be doing GE’s innovations, which will now be centered in China,” said Chris Townsend. “This doesn’t mean that the Waukesha plant will close right away, but the company’s advances will be taking place in China and Waukesha will be making more out-of-date products. GE will be bringing in the new machines from China,” Townsend adds.

The shift of the division’s HQ is part of GE’s $2 billion plan fror new investment in China.

While GE has claimed that the shift of its Medical Equipment Division headquarters will not result in a net loss of jobs, employment in Waukesha has been cut by about 50 percent in recent years, Townsend estimates.

Bybee points out that GE’s public relations offensive comes not only as the corporation cuts jobs in the United States—”slash[ing] its U.S. workforce by 32,000 jobs, from 165,000 to 133,000 over the 2004-2010 period”—but following the revelation that in 2010, GE made $14.2 billion in profits and not only paid no federal income tax, but actually got $3.2 billion in federal tax credits. On top of that, between 2008 and 2010 GE spent $84 million on lobbying while paying an effective negative federal income tax rate.

Those workers deserve to be celebrated. But they, and Waukesha’s next generation, deserve to have jobs for years to come. GE shouldn’t get credit for the former while killing the hope of the latter.

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