Reason, Liberty, & Culture

Tegrant buys Greenvile plant, slams the doors

30-40 people will lose their jobs by end of August 2008. This Tegrant plant supplies "protective packaging products and speciality components" at this 80,000-square-foot plant. Many of the employees have worked there for 10-20 years. Tegrant bought the plant from SCA North America in March.

Yet Randy Harrell, president of the Greene County Partnership, said, "The economy continues to take a toll on Greene County's local industries. The news that Tegrant Corporation will close their operation in late August saddens me. The cost of transporting product due to high fuel prices must have played a role in their ultimate decision. Once again, quality workers will be displaced and dedicated employees will be out of a job due to no fault of their own. I plan to meet with local company representatives next week and discuss what role the Partnership can play in providing assistance. We will do what we can to help them find jobs." Ref July 31, 2008.

Nissan offers "buyouts" (cans) 6000 Tennessee workers

Nissan North America Inc. will offer buyouts to about 6,000 employees at the company's two Tennessee plants and eliminate a night shift at one plant...The technicians and salaried employees at the assembly plant in Smyrna and powertrain plant in Decherd will be offered a lump sum of $100,000 or $125,000 depending on tenure, as well as medical and car purchase (Nissan) does not plan any layoffs. (What exactly is this, an extended vacation without pay?) Ref. Associated Press August 31, 2008.

More bad news for Tennessee: State layoffs seem inevitable

Gov. Phil Bredesen "was pleased" even though a state buyout program fell short. "The buyout program was intended to save the state $64 million, which was one element of a wider $468 million in budget reductions due to slowing revenues...The lackluster interest in the buyouts increased the likelihood that the state will lay off employees next year. The governor said Tuesday that one way or another, the state must reduce its payroll by $64 million...The offer includes four months of base salary, $500 for each year of service, and six months of subsidized health coverage with an option to pay for an additional year. The benefits also include tuition aid at Tennessee colleges and universities, and a one-time payment for those 65 and older." Tennessee even before this was a poor, low-wage state as it was.

Tennessee is "seeing revenues fall and demand for services rise...29 states are experiencing budget shortfalls this year...15 states that are reducing their payrolls this year by eliminating jobs or not filling them when they become vacant...At least 12 states are raising revenue with new taxes, a path that Tennessee has opted not to take..." Raising taxes in Tennessee for any reason tends to bring out lynch mobs. Ref. August 6, 2008 The Tennessean

The reality of Minimum Wage

In May 2007, Congress approved legislation raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour by the end of 2009. The second phase of the increase - which raises the wage from $5.85 to $6.55 in July. Ten thousand workers in Tennessee and 5,000 workers in Virginia earned the minimum wage in 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A total of 70,000 people in both states earn less than the minimum wage last year because their incomes are based on tips, but they will also benefit from the increase. Minimum wage earners were paid a base salary of $10,712 last year before any wage increases went into effect. Thursday's increase will bring their base annual salary to $13,624.

But let's take another look. $10,712 in 1997 should be $14,604 in 2007 just to keep up with inflation, not counting exploding inflation of 2008. The inflation calculator shows $5.15 an hour in 1997 should be $6.74 in 2007.

$2.00 in 1974 would be $9.24 in 2007;
$3.10 in 1980 would be $8.75 in 2007;
$4.25 in 1991 would be $6.66 in 2007;
$5.15 in 1997 would be $6.74 in 2007.

Yet, minimum wage just went to $6.55 in 2008! $2.00 an hour in 1974 should be $9.24 in 2007. Even at $6.55 in 2008, minimum wage has lost almost one-third of its value since 1974 as of 2007. The working class is being hammered from all directions.