December 20, 2005

All over but the squealing, E. Moline council OKs Triumph development deal

From the QC Times:
The East Moline City Council unanimously approved a development agreement Monday night with Triumph Foods LLC of St. Joseph, Mo., for a controversial pork processing plant to be built in the Quad-City community.

The deal will give Triumph about $20 million in incentives to attract the $135 million facility with some 1,000 jobs paying wages estimated at $11.75 per hour on average.
Gene Hollerud of Moline questioned Rick Hoffman, chief executive officer of Triumph Foods, on the actual wages paid by the company and how it recruits workers.

Hoffman said 90 percent of the employees at the new Triumph plant are from the St. Joseph area. He said the starting wage is $8.25 per hour, but many incentives make the actual average wage much higher. That plant had 2,000 people apply for jobs; 300 were offered and 150 are now on the payroll, he said.
Many interesting quotes within the piece. Some rather pathetic, such as a labor leader comparing Triumph's hog processing plant locating here to Deere & Co. or Alcoa, and a 21 yr old father saying he wants the plant here in case, "... my college degree doesn’t pan out, I want to provide a living and raise my family here, and make my parents and my grandparents proud."

Pretty sad, really.

And somehow, it seems the debate was twisted until the only objection was thought to be the potential smell of the plant. There's numerous serious and important issues beyond that which would make a community question whether the plant is what they want in their area, but they got lost in the shuffle.

All the defenders seem to say is, "I don't think it will smell too bad", as if that's the only problem with this proposal. They completely ignored the enormous $20 million dollar "incentives" the city and county will hand the company, or the potential loss of funding the TIF district will pose for school and fire boards.

No real details about the impact on the flood plain. No information or data about whether the plant will attract CAFOs or concentrated factory hog farms. The only thing I heard was "I doubt it will attract them." Well then.

The way this entire thing was handled and approved was truly "faith-based", much too much for my tastes. And I love pork.


At 12/20/2005 9:20 AM, Blogger theheadusher said...

You have a lot of guts to attack a 21-year old father for working to provide a better life for himself and his family.

Instead of calling this man's desire to better his life "pretty sad," you should praise him for understanding that their is honor in hard work!

During times when some won't accept responsibility and some won't work, I salute this upstanding young his desire to make life better for his family!

Congratulations young man, you are a credit to your community!

DOPE, I was also surprised to read your anti-labor comments. Calling local labor leaders "pathetic" is uncalled for and beyond the pale.

Winning is easy, defeat is hard. But you learn a lot about a person in defeat. What have your loyal readers learned about you today DOPE?

At 12/20/2005 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Faith based....was George Bush there? I think it still stinks and it's a deal with the devil for sure.

At 12/20/2005 3:48 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Head case...

I suppose I have a lot of guts, but nothing like the mountains of guts the Triumph plant will produce.

I hope they name one of their waste collection ponds after you in gratitude.

Obviously, you think lies and exagerations are wonderful. Anyone who reads your stuff can plainly see that, and that would explain why you don't recognize that Al Anderson saying that rejecting this massive hog slaughtering operation would be the same as refusing Deere & Co. or Alcoa from locating here is a real stretch.

If you can't recognize the difference, you're pathetic as well.

And it is sad to read what the young man said. Sure he's being honorable. That's what makes it so sad.

That in order to do what he is nobly committed to do, support his family, he has to look to a job like these. Go to college or work at the slaughterhouse.

Is that what our young people are facing? This illustrates one of the main reasons I am skeptical of the plant.

For a young person in the Quad Cities to feel it's a great honor to work at a dismal, soul-deadening, potentially brutal, gory job for the rest of his life is truly sad.

Is that what our political leaders have left him? Are things so bad that this is considered a real opportunity?

And for you to make him out to be some great American hero for being gung ho to work at a menial job tells a lot about your views as well.

"honor in hard work" indeed. Reminds me of the saying which was above the gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp, "Arbeit Macht Frei", work will make you free.

Being firmly in the pocket of corporate interests, I'm sure you're more than willing to tell your constituents that they should feel incredibly grateful to you and the company and suggest they're luckie duckies for the opportunity to work for less than $9 an hour to start at a factory who's business is killing, gutting, and carving up thousands of hogs per day.

One can imagine that you'll be steering your children towards a job at the plant some day.

Yeah, we all owe you a great debt Mike. You're really growing the Quad Cities in exactly the way all the consultants, booster groups, and studies have said we should.

I'm sure those studies said that if the Quad Cities are to grow and prosper, we need more industrial slaughter operations.

Let's bring in more jobs and plants like this which ensure our population is occupied in menial jobs that offer no satisfaction, lead to more crime, more alcohol and drug abuse, etc. That is IF many of the jobs end up held by locals after a few years.

As long as it makes the big guys money and puts some dough in your campaign account, who gives a damn, right?

Sure, it will provide some jobs which won't be gruesome and gory, I'd hope. But as with IBP, most of them will involve standing in slippery grease and blood, in refrigerated rooms working with knives at a rapid pace for eight hours a shift.

A young guy forced to do that for a living because there's nothing else available isn't something for you to crow about, and yes, I think it's sad that this young man find that his only option.

You are the one who should be ashamed, for not giving a moments thought into what this means to the area both financially and as far as quality of life.

Rah Rah it if you must, but to do so without any thought whatsoever is what is the most sad and pathetic.

At 12/20/2005 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you have never held a "blue collar" job, but I have. And I can tell you that not all of them were easy. But each and every job made me work that much harder to get to the next level. Would you rather ship these jobs to China? What in the world is wrong with you anyway?

By the way Dope, you don't have a clue as to who I am! That's what makes these stupid blogs so much fun! If you made people use their real names, I bet you would have less viewership than you do now!

At 12/20/2005 4:28 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I've held plenty of "blue collar" jobs, including union. As a matter of fact, I've never had a "white collar" job in my life.

I know exactly who you are, though it's not through your comments. It's because of a blunder on your part that you revealed your identity.

There is no way I can tell commenter's identities here. It simply isn't possible. And I'm fine with that.

You're really bright to recognize that if everyone had to use their real identity that not many would venture comments, including yourself. That's pretty sharp on your part. Nothing gets by you.

And for someone who thinks blogs are "stupid", you spend an enormous amount of time reading this one and leaving your whacky comments. Don't you have a job in Springfield or something?

If you love hard work, that's great. Nothing wrong with hard work, that's for certain.

But the larger picture is of thousands of people getting these menial, dangerous, and undercompensated jobs and being used up and spit out. I'm sure the turnover at this plant will be huge.

While your ideal of working hard and working your way up the ladder is the way things ought to work, the fact is that it rarely does, most especially if a shop isn't union.

Is Triumph going to be a union shop? Did anyone bother to find out before they jumped on the bandwagon to approve it?

And yes, given the choice between having the plant here and having it in China, I'd pick China. They're in the process of polluting themeselves into crisis already. Let them deal with it.

Is a hog plant the only thing we can possibly hope for? And if THAT'S the truth, why aren't people outraged at our politicians for not doing better at attracting better businesses and better employers?

I'm not anti-blue collar. Almost everyone I know is blue collar. I recognize that there needs to be a mix of blue and white collar jobs.

But the turnover will be enormous, and I fear that down the road, most jobs will be filled by imported workers.

I object to people instantly jumping on ANYTHING which will provide a few jobs, and their willingness to promise the moon to these companies, often without any consultation with their consituents who are the ones footing the bill.

"Take what you can get" growth without thought is not always good growth.

At 12/21/2005 2:28 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

Dope, I have to agree with you that the corporate incentives part of this agreement still bothers me a bit. I am thinking about the benefits Galesburg gave to Maytag in the years running up to the closing.

But, I have to disagree with the idea that the situation is "take what you can get." It's true that the area needs jobs, but I'm confident that the East Moline City council didn't intend to rubber stamp this deal out of desperation. It presented itself as an opportunity, and the council took to considering it.

The fundamental issue becomes whether you believe that the elected representatives did the work they are elected to do and balanced the benefits and the costs. I happen to think they did, and that they simply didn't close their eyes (and noses) to the downsides. If East Moline residents disagree with the decision, they can be voted out at the next election, and I would encourage anyone who feels that way to exercise that right.

The counterarguemnt becomes, obviouslty that the city council is not accoutnable to many of those who are against the plant. To that I have to respond that this plant is going to have to be approved somehow at nearly every level of Quad City government, and so, if there are still objection, almost everyone will have the opportunity to put political pressure on those maknig the decisions. It is hard work, but what isn't nowadays?


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