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Old 06-06-2019, 07:56 PM
15,043 posts, read 3,983,077 times
Reputation: 10917



I'm driving through Central PA - a very wealthy area in terms of the forests, industries, history and more - this is an area that BUILT a lot of America. Some here may have heard of Pennsylvania House Furniture or Wood-Mode Kitchen cabinets....those are only two of 100's of industries near here.

So, I'm walking down main street strike up a convo with a guy sitting in front of a store along with this dog. Knowing the history of the area and of Pennsylvania, I could right away tell this guy was a "maker", so I struck up a conversation. Sure enough, he was a master woodworker and plant engineer with 37 years in the field, first at said Pennsylvania House Furniture and then at Wood-Mode. He then related to me how Wood-Mode had closed up LAST month.....1,200 employees....and the Boss has gathered them together and said "this is your last day" - no warning, no severance, no benefits, no health care....and, better yet, the Boss hadn't paid the administrators of their IRA Program, so that money is going to locked up for months or years until the plan admits are paid (I think we can guess where that money will come from...the employees!).

Let's look this up and see if it's true because a witness who lived there his whole life is only one person!

Opps! It checks out:

His original employer, famous for quality, had been bought up and moved 100% overseas in 2005:
"By 2005, La-Z-Boy purchased the remains of Pennsylvania House. By the end of that year, they moved the entire production of PA House furniture overseas"

Anyway, we got to talking foundries (one of my loves besides wood) and he went down the list of recently closed large foundry operations. We both lamented all of this because the supply of talent and labor and resources in the area is unbelievable - Germans and other masters had trained many of the workforce over the generations (think Amish and Mennonite Furniture, etc.)

So I asked him "Ok, so....where are the largest employers now?"......

The Federal Prison System....(Lewisburg, Allenwood) and associated employees......he also said a lot of government is in the area because they work with the inmates trying to make them snitch. These are, according to him, the worst of the worst (in Lewisburg prison)...not a country club.

Anyway, this is a small peek in 2019 - just a few weeks back......and an area that would be very representative of many. Manufacturing is not "coming back". In fact, after working for 37 years this guy is being thrown out of health insurance instantly and can't get to his IRA.

Luckily his wife is an engineer working on roads nearby (government employment again) and some of his other family works at the prison, so he will be basically OK....but I imagine his retirement, which should be NOW, is in some trouble.

This also illustrates my point about the Stock market going nowhere for 18 months. It would stand to reason that - after almost 4 decades - his IRA is the only real money he has. Companies don't have "real" pensions or job security these days.

It's almost like a joke. How many bad things can be lined up in a row?

The strange thing is the plant has 10 million dollars worth of orders and always has a backlog. Why isn't there a government agency (in China there would be) to help this company survive? They have a market. Of course, the housing slowdown (surely no high end housing boom!) doesn't help high quality Kitchen companies, but I do know that lots of high prices Italian and other kitchens sell big.

Anyway, sad to see. The town is not dead at all...I'd even say booming due to colleges around, the prisons, access to large interstates (we built that - not them!) and rich farmland. There still appears to be some industrial base, but with closings like this (1,000 people or more), it can't be good.

We hear so much about the 3,000 jobs some automaker somewhere is going to create...maybe...someday. But how many of you knew wood-mode cabinets just shut down? I didn't.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:38 PM
Location: Central Illinois -
21,524 posts, read 14,343,579 times
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That's bizarre that Wood Mode would shut down immediately, with no warning, and millions of dollars in orders unfulfilled, leaving suppliers to scramble and fulfill unfinished orders. And then to hold their IRA's hostage like that? There should be criminal charges against the owners of this company, but of even greater importance is 938 people now don't have a job but still have house payments, car payments, and needed medical care they cannot afford.

Stories like this make me grateful for what I have, these corporations have zero loyalty to anyone other than their profit margins. There is no clear reason why they closed, but something is rotten.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:49 PM
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
12,671 posts, read 14,003,072 times
Reputation: 13496
Sorry, but remaining employed or running a business in manufacturing has not been easy in America for a very long time. You can be a master whatever, but if the demand drops or they can do it cheaper elsewhere, you can kiss your meal ticket goodbye. Some master makers moved overseas, just like the companies did with their production. Yes, that is the thanks you get for mastering a craft in America. So choose your career wisely, and be ready to fight back if push comes to shove. It is easy to get discouraged along the way, and some people loose their fight and give up, just like some companies throw in the towel on trying to make things in America.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:57 PM
Location: Barrington
45,765 posts, read 34,009,395 times
Reputation: 15271

Wonder who the white knight was that abruptly pulled out of the deal that cause banks to cut them off which resulted in the abrupt closure and layoffs.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:00 PM
18,836 posts, read 7,324,124 times
Reputation: 8063
Sad, but happens off and on like this.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:09 PM
1,352 posts, read 689,516 times
Reputation: 781
Why should the employer guarantee pensions? Employers should educate people on how to invest money in a bank, that way they won't go bankrupt down the road and cost communities jobs, and people have the ability to invest for retirement or don't and live for the moment.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:48 PM
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
14,922 posts, read 13,315,889 times
Reputation: 4547
Originally Posted by BobNJ1960 View Post
Sad, but happens off and on like this.
Manufacturing has been shutting down for decades. When I visited the Buffalo area during the late 1970s, I could hardly believe seeing mile after mile of massive steel plants shut down. Buffalo had already started losing population in the 1950s.
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:20 PM
19,354 posts, read 17,468,922 times
Reputation: 10573
We can thank the opening up of China to manufacturing for the exodus of manufacturing jobs. This predates Trump and even Obama and Bush 43 and goes back to Clinton although the groundwork was being laid by Bush 41. And we have none other to thank than Al Gore who personally gave China the green light with granting them most favored nation trade status. How he still masquerades as an environmentalist is beyond me.
We're still seeing outsourcing of jobs. Silicon valley has legions of foreign nationals that replaced Americans due to their working for less. And now robots are getting poised to replace workers. If this trade war with China makes their goods more expensive and helps americans compete again, then maybe Mr. Trump is right in trying to undo decades of economic mismanagement by both parties.
Part of Allenwood most certainly is a country club federal prison, it just depends on what you did and who your connections are. That Ohio congressman James Trafficant got sent there.
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:58 PM
Location: Tennessee
34,667 posts, read 33,667,394 times
Reputation: 51854
"United States Steel Corp. outlined plans Thursday for the biggest upgrade of its steelmaking operations in decades by investing more than a $1 billion in its plants near Pittsburgh." May 2, 2019

"It has been three weeks since U.S. Steel announced its $1 billion upgrade to its Mon Valley Works near Pittsburgh, but our governor and lieutenant governor are silent on this great news. Strange. All that money. All those middle-class, family-sustaining jobs secured, as the moribund Pennsylvania manufacturing economy awakes and rocks. Except for brief comments from Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, both progressive Democrats, there have been only crickets."


The Obama administration was also a disaster for the manufacturing sector — Pennsylvania alone lost roughly 51,000 manufacturing jobs between 2009 and 2017... The President (Trump) did exactly that just months after taking office — in 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the “war on coal is over.” As a result, the shale gas industry in Pennsylvania is booming, and producers are enormously optimistic that 2019 will be another record-setting year for the industry. The coal industry’s fortunes have also seen a dramatic reversal since Trump took office, adding several thousand jobs since January 2017. Under President Trump’s careful economic stewardship, Pennsylvania has added 5,000 new manufacturing jobs and created 123,600 jobs in total, pushing the state unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent in March — the LOWEST LEVEL ON RECORD." May 20, 2019

"A Hanover Township, Northampton County, orthopedic device manufacturer is planning a $3.8 million expansion that will support 79 jobs over the next three years. Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that Tyber Medical LLC plans to renovate its current facility, 89 S. Commerce Way, Suite 990, and build a 35,000-square-foot new building adjacent to the existing one. The project is expected to create 44 new, full-time jobs and keep 35 existing jobs."

Then President Obama on Candidate Trump showing Obama didn't have a clue about how to bring back manufacturing and had given up:

"During a PBS town hall that aired Wednesday, Obama referenced Trump's promise to bring back jobs to the United States when talking about manufacturing. “Well, how exactly are you going to do that? What exactly are you going to do? There’s no answer to it," Obama said. "He just says, 'Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.' Well, what, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? June 1, 2016

I don't know in what region of PA, the afore mention jobs are located.

Last edited by LauraC; 06-06-2019 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:10 PM
3,737 posts, read 1,800,999 times
Reputation: 3756
We all know this is an anti trump post.

Unfortunately for op it throws shade at Clinton, bush and Obama.
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