This story leaves a “Bad Taste” in my mouth: Oreo, Nabisco and the Big Bad Trade Deals


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If you’re from the south side of Chicago, you’ve probably smelled the sweet aroma of cookies from the Nabisco plant on Kedzie Ave at some point in your life. Of all the products produced there, the Oreo cookie is the most famous. The plant employs about 1200 people. Last summer, employees were expecting an announcement of a $130 million upgrade to their plant. Instead workers were told that they needed to absorb $46 million in wage and benefit cuts in order to keep their jobs. The corporation that owns the plant, Mondelez International (based out of Deerfield, IL), has now decided to outsource 600 jobs to a plant in Salinas, Mexico. What they are now facing is a loss of about half of their workforce. This issue not only affects the workers here in the U.S., but also the workforce in Mexico, who are being paid such low wages that they earn a daily salary of $4. In the meantime, CEO Irene Rosenfeld pocketed upwards of $200 million in pay and benefits in the last eight years alone.

As is now a common theme in the U.S., American jobs are being lost to other countries that have cheaper labor costs. This has become more prevalent as current U.S. trade deals such as NAFTA and the latest trade deal up for vote — TTP ( Trans-Pacific Partnership), make it more attractive for American companies to outsource their jobs without penalties. Over the past 20 years, policies in the United States have encouraged companies to send their jobs to the cheapest place. These bad trade agreements have basically penalized workers who get a decent wage and reward corporations that send jobs overseas.

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While taking these trade agreements into account, it is important to note that there are other issues at play here. Many local governments give theses corporations incentives to keep jobs in America. As an example, a Cook County resolution in 1993 granted tax incentives close to 90 million dollars to this particular plant, formerly run by the Nabisco Biscuit Company,  from the state and from the city of Chicago. These incentives were given to keep the company in the city.

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The American people were told that these deals would help to create MORE jobs and grow our economy, but the truth is quite the opposite. In just 10 years, more that 50,000 U.S. factories closed down by the end of 2010. Though corporations cite many reasons and excuses for why they continue to cut jobs from the U.S. market, the truth is that the outsourcing of American jobs is killing our economy, plain and simple.

At Sharn enterprises, we pride ourselves on being an American company.

That means that we make all of our products, here, in the U.S. and we work with other American companies to source the materials that we use. For 41 years, we’ve produced quality displays made in the U.S.A. and created jobs that benefit our local economy. It’s not always easy, but it is the right thing to do, and we are proud of that.

To learn more about our Company, its products and services, please visit our website at www.sharndisplays.com

“A proud American manufacturer”

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