Tennessee is a joke.

Bristol Loses Another 185 Jobs State Workers in Poverty

by Lewis Loflin

Also see Job Market Continues to Implode in Tri-Cities Bristol in 2015

April 16, 2015: More New Jobs that were old jobs now no jobs.

"Bristol plant reduces workforce" screams local headlines - well not really screams but low-key background noise. They only shout out when they "create" new jobs real or imagined.

Something called "Dr. Reddy's" was brought in as a replacement employer for the massive layoffs by GlaxoSmithKline in Bristol, Tennessee. Celebrated three years ago as "new jobs" the rehires never met the numbers promised as I understand it and now 45 of the 110 "new jobs" are being terminated due to the volatility of the pharmaceuticals market. I'd say the others won't be far behind.

Bristol politicians were confused and speechless as usual. These low-end employers just come and go like clockwork. Ref. Feb 12 2015 WCYB

Bristol, VA. will lose another 140 jobs at the Office Depot customer service center in Bristol - "but the facility is not closing" whatever that means. Layoffs of 143 workers are scheduled to begin in May according to press reports.

The report goes on to state the jobs will be farmed out to lower-paying third parties and "work at home" positions. This is part of a continuing trend destroying American workers.

Bristol Virginia Mayor Catherine Brillhart as usual "was caught off guard by the news." She noted, "that building in the Exit 7 area has housed customer service operations for different companies for almost 20 years and at one time more than 500 people worked there."

Yet when they pay to move one company in the do the very thing the other company did and rehire the same workers they claim "new jobs" but seem confused when new jobs bail out and go elsewhere.

Bristol Tennessee claims new jobs when a Bristol Virginia employers (Sprint, US Solutions) simply crosses State Street to collect public dollars for "job creation."

This was at least the third call center to dump Bristol Virginia that spent millions on fiber optic and corporate welfare to lure them in. As Vice Mayor Archie Hubbard grumbles, "call centers are notoriously fickle anyway." Perhaps Archie should go back to Hee-Haw - wait that was a different Archie.

Ref. March 4, 2015 David McGee BHC

Yet the community is celebrating the opening of more retailers while hundreds lose their jobs - they claim 10 new stores at The Pinnacle taxpayer subsidized retail development in Bristol Tennessee.

Typical is Park's Belk that dumped the Bristol Mall in Bristol Virginia and moved across I-81 - they proclaim these "new jobs." Well no, they're not new jobs Archie.

The other assorted retailers anchored on a Bass Pro Shop as I was told will encourage shopping in Bristol Tennessee instead other sometimes identical retailers in Kingsport, Bristol Virginia, or Washington County Virginia.

In other words local communities like Bristol are engaged in a sales tax collection war and are cutting each others throats and luring each others retailers into jumping the city/state/county lines.

Simply displacing each other's retailers while hemorrhaging other jobs is simply the tip of the iceberg on the problems facing the working poor in the Bristol community.

Massive Merger of Local Hospital Chains Raises Fears

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) Wellmont Health Systems has been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. The apparent shifting of funding from Medicare to Medicaid which pays far less to doctors and hospitals has the whole local industry in a tailspin.

As I was told during a public hearing in 2009 by one CEO 70-80 percent of their patient care in the region is uninsured, Medicare, and Medicaid. For all practical reasons we already have socialized healthcare in Bristol.

Virginia is still fighting over Medicaid expansion, but in April local healthcare providers announced the merger of Wellmont with Mountain States Health Alliance our other local mega hospital chain. Virginia is writing special legislation to help them dodge the monopoly problem.

They claim there will be no job losses or hospitals closing like what is already happening - nobody believes that. Patient care though is already being compromised in particular for Medicaid patients as local doctors refuse to take them.

Many are already being shunted off for non-emergency treatment to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. That's a five hour drive in addition to long waiting periods sometimes months. It's certain more and more patients will be shunted UVa.

Proposed closure of care facility could affect 600 jobs, 96 residents

Olivia Caridi, Jan 06 2015 WCYB TV.

GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. 600 Greene Valley Developmental Center employers could be out of work and the 96 people they care for could be displaced if a federal judge approves to close the facility...It's part of a federal lawsuit facing Tennessee for the last 20 years...

This agreement is not a done deal...anyone against the closure (should) bring their concerns to the judge in Nashville. The U.S. District Court will hear the agreement Thursday, and then people can bring concerns to the judge on January 21st...

Virginia state workers in poverty zone - State piles on corporate welfare

Think about the $100 million Virginia tax payers are shelling out to underwrite retail development in Bristol. Republicans are demanding more public spending to assist business. This also doesn't cont the vast state out-sourcing and contracting to the private sector to achieve the same ends - keep pay low, business profits up.

December 8, 2014 Associated Press

More than 3,800 Virginia state employees, nearly 4 percent of the workforce, are paid annual wages below the federal poverty level of $23,850 for a family of four, state figures show.

The total includes more than 900 workers whose salaries are below the federal poverty level of $19,970 for a family of three, and 135 workers who earn less than the $15,730 level for two-person households, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Jobs with poverty-level wages include hospital food service workers and housekeepers, school security officers, mental health workers, deputy sheriffs, corrections workers, secretaries, researchers and associate professors.

The number of state employees who receive federal assistance such as food stamps has increased from 892 in 2011 to 2,287 in 2013. In 2007, only 12 state employees received federal assistance, the newspaper said, citing statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Human Resources Management.

The number of food stamp recipients increased from 856 in 2011 to 1,898 in 2013. During the same period, the number of state employees receiving Medicaid benefits rose from 97 to 729.

There also has been an increase in the number of state employees receiving funding under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. This number has risen from 12 to 88 during the period. In 2013, 575 employees qualified for energy assistance from the federal government.

Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax has introduced legislation for the 2015 session that would help low-income workers in the private sector. The bill would gradually increase Virginia's hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2017, unless a higher federal minimum wage is in place by then.

(Fat chance it will ever pass.)