Hundreds of Union Members Will Lose Their Jobs When Hershey Moves to Mexico. Hoffa will speak to these workers tomorrow04/08/2008 - 3:05pmRichard
Hundreds of workers will be out of work once Hershey closes one of its plants in Reading, Pa and moves on off to Mexico.
In an effort to raise awareness of how horrible it is for this to be happening (because of NAFTA), Teamster President Hoffa will be in Reading tomorrow at noon to talk with the workers and the press. If you are there or near, you will want to read this to know where to go.
For more than six months, we have covered the news that the Hershey plant in Reading, Pa. would be closing and heading to Mexico. Aside from the insult of making America's favorite food in another country, hundreds of Teamster jobs will be eliminated. (Someone wake me up when NAFTA helps American workers).
You might have heard that the Teamsters Union is on a road trip through Pennsylvenia to talk to members about jobs, the economy, this country's failed trade policies and Senator Barack Obama's positions on these and other issues affecting working families.
For more information about the Hershey workers and the decision to move the Pepperment Patty plant to Mexico, check out these stories:
From (4/9/08) :
Theres a lot more of the interview at that site. Yes, we have been writing about the Hershey's move for quite some time, I would also suggest you watch the Carpenters release about "Globalization" entitled "Carpenters video release: Globalization, who's next? A must see for all US construction workers"Berks County, PA - A mint wrapped in chocolate and dressed in silver and blue is the best example of the failings of the national trade policy, the leader of the country’s most powerful labor union said Wednesday.
James P. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said the Hershey plant that makes York Peppermint Patties would not be moving to Mexico from Reading at the end of the year if the United States had balanced trade laws.
Companies are moving operations to foreign countries because labor is cheaper, but America is getting nothing in return, he said.
The North American Free Trade Agreement and others based on it should be scrapped and replaced with a policy that says the United States will buy products only from countries that buy products from the United States, he said.
If the balance gets out of whack, America should follow the lead of European countries and impose duties and tariffs, Hoffa said today in an exclusive interview with the Reading Eagle.
DISCUSS: Presidential Campaign Forum
“We don’t want to build a wall around America,” he said. “We want fair trade.”
Hoffa, son of the most famous Teamster in history, Jimmy Hoffa, arrived in Berks County in a convoy of four trucks driven by Teamsters.
He talked to about 300 workers at Associated Wholesalers Inc. in Robesonia and 50 workers at the Hershey plant on North Eighth Street.
The message he delivered is that Teamsters should vote for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in Pennsylvania’s primary election April 22.
Obama of Illinois and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York are in a tight race for the Democratic nomination.
“I believe he will change this country,” Hoffa said. “I don’t think Hillary is going to change. Hillary is basically the 1990s. We need new ideas.
“He said he will change NAFTA. We’ll take out all of those benefits and subsidies. There would be incentives for companies to stay here.”
Hoffa said he recalls President Clinton saying NAFTA would be wonderful for the country.
“Just the absolute opposite happened,” he said. “It was like a nightmare.”
Job losses, such as the 250 expected at Hershey, hurt the workers and the community in which they pay taxes and buy the necessities, Hoffa said.
“It’s an epidemic,” he said. “It’s got to stop.”
Obama has pledged to create jobs, and one way he would do it would be investing in development of alternative energy sources, Hoffa said.
Instead of making candy, American workers may be manufacturing windmills or generators, he said.
“There are no simple answers to this,” he said. “We could say that there’s no hope, and no matter what we do we’re doomed. I don’t believe that.”
The Teamsters can make a difference in setting policy and the outcome of an election because the union has a membership of more than 1.4 million, including 23,000 workers added in the last 10 months, Hoffa said.
More Teamsters are registered to vote and actually vote than the rest of the population, he said.
“They (candidates) listen to the union,” he said. “We have a major impact on every race.”
Barrie N. Higo Jr. of Maidencreek Township, the head union steward at Hershey, said Hoffa was 100 percent correct.
“You have these companies moving to Mexico and taking our jobs there,” he said. “Are you getting a reduction in candy prices? Absolutely not.
“There’s going to be 250 good jobs leaving Pennsylvania. We’re mad as hell about it. This is what NAFTA has done to this country.”
Contact reporter Mary Young at 610-478-6292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.