250,000. That’s the number of jobs that Governor Walker promised by the end of his first term, which ended in 2015. He fell short… by half. His overestimate, or maybe his shortfalling, left many critics in the state more upset than usual. Walker claims that in his second term, his 250k job goal has not changed, and in order to work towards this intimidating number, Wisconsin is bringing in Taiwanese technology company Foxconn, which is predicted to bring in 130,000 new jobs along with it.
On September 18, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a deal with Foxconn. The deal provides $3 billion in incentives for Foxconn to put $10 billion towards building a plant in Wisconsin, the company’s first in the United States. The deal, called the largest economic development project in state history, is said to be up and running by 2020.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Company is a Taiwanese tech company that trades using the name Foxconn Technology Group. Foxconn is much more prominent than some may think. The company produced the Apple iPhone 5S, is the 10th largest employer in the world with 1.3 employees, and the 4th largest tech company by revenue.
Despite Foxconn’s impressive reputation, some, mostly democrats, aren’t so sure about this development. The large tech company is well-known for its large announcements, and not-so-large carry-outs of announcements. In 2013, Foxconn promised a $30 million project in Pennsylvania, but the follow-through was nonexistent, leaving many wondering if the Wisconsin project will just turn out to be like the Pennsylvania one.
Another concern about the new plant is the wellbeing of workers. According to CBS, in 2010,eighteen Foxconn workers at a plant in China attempted suicide, and since then, at least 150 workers have threatened suicide at Foxconn due to their poor working conditions. However, a Foxconn factory in the United States would have to adhere to U.S. labor laws. Because of well established labor laws in America, working conditions can be expected to be better in their Wisconsin factory.
Despite Foxconn’s questionable reputation in the past, hopefully Wisconsin’s labor laws will effectively control mistreatment of workers, and provide Wisconsin with the jobs that it lacks.
– Deney Li and Leah Vredenbregt