Friday, April 08, 2005

Community Expresses Outrage of Economic Development Director’s Rejection of

For Immediate Release For More Info: June Rostan, (270) 825-2333

Community Expresses Outrage of Economic Development Director’s Rejection of
500 Union Jobs
Decision Costs Region Millions

Members of the Madisonville community met Tuesday night to discuss
Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation Executive
Director Danny Koon’s decision to turn away a company that would have
supplied 500 new jobs to the region because the business’s employees were
represented by a union.

Over 100 people packed the Holy Temple Church in Christ showing their
disapproval of Koon’s decision that was reported by the Henderson Gleaner in
October 2004. The article quotes Koon as boasting that he turned away a
company that had the potential of supplying 500 new jobs to the region
because the business had a contract with the United Auto Workers. According
to the article, Koon stated that the Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic
Development Corporation does not, “look at any companies that have
representation with a bargaining group.”

"Koon's decision hurts us all, especially our children,” said Madisonville
resident Rodney Miller. “Union jobs are what this community needs. Our
children shouldn't have to work low paying jobs and shouldn't have to move
away to find work. Our kids deserve good paying jobs like the ones Koon's
turned away.”

Pastor Raymond Marion of the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ and NAACP
Madisonville chapter president presented data that detailed just how much
Koon’s decision cost the Madisonville region.

“Five hundred jobs at $15 per hour represents $15.6 million dollars in wages
and each industrial job anchors 4.2 other jobs in the economy,” said Bishop
Marion. “That equals 2,100 jobs at $10 an hour each which equals $43.7
million dollars. When you calculate in fringe benefits at 25% for the $15
per hour it raises the wage and benefits package to $20 per hour” Marion

Marion’s calculations come from the research department of the United Auto
Workers and the Economic Policy Institute. In addition to higher wages,
studies demonstrate that unions have been able to preserve the most
important benefits for their members, while non-union workers have not been
able to withstand the huge employer push to cut coverage and shift costs on
to employees. Union workers are far more likely to be covered by health care
and retirement benefits than nonunion workers and far less likely to be
forced to contribute to the cost of those plans.

“All of this represents $59.3 million annually that could have come in to
the Madisonville community, as well as 2,600 jobs,” Marion said. “Koon’s
decision cost the community a lot economically - $59.3 million per year to
be exact.”

Hopkins County Magistrate Coletta Wheeler assured the community that Koon’s
actions did not reflect all of Madisonville and Hopkins County officials and
deeply regrets Koon’s remarks.

"I have the highest respect for unions. Without the right to organize where
would we be?" Wheeler said.

This news release comes from a fellow blogger who is on top of labor issues....Resist Oppression. Thanks RO!!


At 4/10/2005 1:29 AM , Blogger TN420 said...

Being in management myself, there is no logical reason why a given company wouldn't want to have union employees.

The union provides skilled labor that is reliable and effective. If someone is slacking, you ask the union for a replacement. Problem solved.

Union employees are better paid and therefore, happier employees. Happy employees are productive employees.

Let's face it. If you pay an employee minimum wage to do a ten dollar per hour job, you'll get either second or third rate work, or they'll steal their way to ten.

I'd rather work with union people anyday.



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