Job preservation at work in Vermont

Country Home Products named one of Vermont’s best places to work in 2017 has announced it is laying off dozens of Vermont workers. There’s a major layoff announcement in Winooski. Country Home Products informed employees this week that dozens will soon be out of a job.[…]selffeeding layoff The Vermont-born maker of outdoor power tools gave 67 employees a letter or reached out by phone, telling workers they are out of a job and when their last day will be.

In 2009 the longtime Vermont business Country HomeProducts/DR Power raised $12 million from 24 foreign investors through the EB-5 investment-for-visas program. The $12 million was used to fund product development and market expansion. As a designated “troubled business,” the company escaped the normal EB-5 requirement to create 10 jobs and only had to preserve existing jobs.

Six years passed, and in 2015 Country Home Products, now with a market value of $2.1 billion, was sold to Generac Holdings Inc., a larger publicly traded business. Generac is headquartered in Waukesha, WI, the CEO is Aaron Jagdfeld, and the company employs 4,202 people. Jagdfeld’s overall compensation in 2016 was $3.9 million, while all executive compensation was up 6.51% the same year.

And so now the layoffs start. Country Home Products president Matt Bieber says the full-time, part-time and seasonal layoffs are in addition to the complete closure of their Winooski assembly plant. [Emphasis added.]

Kind of raises a few questions about what “job preservation” in Vermont actually means. And whose job and for how long was it supposed to be preserved?

I am sure we will be told there isn’t much the State can do other than speedily provide unemployment benefits and perhaps job counseling.  Although Governor Scott offers this: “Any job loss in the state of Vermont is concerning,” His suggestion that, “It reinforces that we have to watch every dollar. We have to make Vermont more affordable,” might ring kind of hollow to those now out a good job. No prescriptions available for this malady from the Gov., just take two ‘affordables’ and call me in the morning.

8 thoughts on “Job preservation at work in Vermont

  1. “His suggestion that, “It reinforces that we have to watch every dollar. We have to make Vermont more affordable,” might ring kind of hollow to those now out a good job.”

    Those workers should absolutely appreciate Scott’s focus on affordability. No rosy new economy is coming our way regardless of who is governor…and the D’s (my identification for 40 years) would likely pile on their ability to get along.

    As a disillusioned Dem actively involved for years, I am disturbed at the petulant mood VT dems are exhibiting post-Shumlin…they may be a majority but their focus seems to be missing the boat of the avg Vter. A whining majority is repellant.

  2. I’d say things are more affordable if you have a job. But that’s why Gov. Phil Scott supports raising the minimum wage…oh, wait!

  3. On September 19, 2012, the board of directors of Generac Holdings Inc. elected Timothy W. Sullivan to serve as a Class II director of the Company. At the time Sullivan was serving as a special consultant to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In 2013, Robert Kern, founder of Generac, and his wife, Patricia gave $200,000 to Scott Walker to help him fend off a recall. It’s the way the 1% operates. The little guy in Vermont doesn’t have a chance.
    Vail buys Stowe Mountain Resort and nine employees lose their jobs. Global Foundries buys IBM and a dozen people lose their jobs. Our elected leaders have to be on the side of the 99% and not the 1% in order for business and society to be structured again to benefit most of us. It won’t really hurt the 1%, but it would make a huge difference for the rest of us. Let’s start with health care and education Governor.

  4. We have to get away from subsidizing the marquee, ribbon cutting, giant business projects. They make for good press but those are the kind that get bought out and move jobs out of state. The state government should focus on encouraging many small businesses run by local residents. They are less likely to leave and if one does we lose five jobs at a time instead of five-hundred.

    I’d like to see a contract provision in any state support that claws back the money if ownership is transferred out of state.

  5. “His suggestion that, “It reinforces that we have to watch every dollar. We have to make Vermont more affordable.”

    To keep those jobs in Vermont, America would have to reduce pay to the level of where those jobs are going: China. So if we do the Republican’s bidding and lower our pay to $30/month. Or go back to slavery, which China also has.

    Is that what Scott means by ‘affordable’?

    1. The Chinese have opened a $600 million plant in Moraine, Ohio. Fuyao Glass, one of the world’s largest auto glass makers, has already hired 2,000 employees in Moraine and wants to hire more. Chinese companies employ about 141,000 in America. Chynah (as Trump says) seems to be able to figure out how to pay American wages, cope with American regulations, and still make a profit. If you don’t want to make an obscene profit this could be done by American companies, but the CEOs can’t continue to make 300 times the median salary of their employees. Granted all is not rosy at the Moraine plant, but China seems willing to live by American labor laws allowing these employees to unionize.

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