“The North American Free Trade Agreement is a joke and the recent announcement by Electrolux that it will move manufacturing from Québec to Tennessee is proof,” said a disgusted IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie.
Shortly before Christmas and without any warning, Electrolux told its L’Assomption, Québec, work force, it would close the facility and move to Memphis, TN, to save on labor costs.
The deal, however, included more than lower labor costs. In order to attract Electrolux, the city of Memphis offered $20 million for infrastructure improvements, the County government added $20 million for infrastructure improvements, the State of Tennessee offered $92 million, and the city and county made 800 acres of land available for the new 700,000 square foot plant which opens in June 2012. The sweetener for the deal was $400-500 million in capital investment from potential future suppliers.
“Our federal, provincial and municipal governments were never consulted about this by the company,” said District 11 Directing Business Representative David Chartrand. “When I asked a company representative why not, he replied Electrolux didn’t think it was worth it.”