A close examination of the recent New York Times article, In Wisconsin Hopeful Signs for factories by Peter Goodman, suggests that things are anything but hopeful for Wisconsin’s working people.
Wisconsin lost 31,296 industrial jobs and 413 manufacturers between June 2008 and June 2009, the sharpest decline in at least 25 years.
Given these dismal numbers, a discerning reader might ask what Goodman found so encouraging?
He highlighted recent hirings at two Milwaukee area manufacturing firms.
The first, Rockwell International is a surprising choice since the company’s hourly employment has fallen from more than 1500 in 1985 when Rockwell bought Allen Bradley to 195 today. But hey, the firm just hired a dozen workers, right?
It turns out that Rockwell hired a dozen new workers at its non-union Mequon plant, while the unionized Milwaukee plant has 18 workers with 30 years of seniority still on layoff.
Over in Miller Valley all thirty of the brewers’ hires were vacation replacement workers not permanent positions.
Goodman is more accurate when he notes that manufacturing firms may be “… replenishing inventories after months of weak sales” but the developments at Miller and Rockwell hardly justify the New York Times over the top title: “In Wisconsin, Hopeful Signs for Factories.”