Overtime (was Re: happy autoworkers)

Dennis R Redmond dredmond at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU
Sun Jul 12 19:17:39 PDT 1998

On Sun, 12 Jul 1998, Doug Henwood wrote:

> I was in Eugene, Oregon, a couple of summers ago, visiting friends, at a
> time when Hyundai was proposing to build a chip plant against strong local
> opposition. (Those Oregonians love their computers, but no chip plants
> there, please!) An article in the local paper, the Register-Guard, quoted
> Oregon state economic development literature bragging that wages in the
> Oregon electronics industry, around $5/hr, were lower than Singapore's. It
> made me proud to be an American!

One additional note here: Hyundai and Sony did indeed build fabs here, stirring up a hornet's nest of angry enviros and citizen protests. Among other outrages, Hyundai was awarded around $35 million in tax breaks at a time when the city coffers are being shredded by California-style tax revolts, Federal austerity, etc. And a certain property-owner whose holdings were in the near vicinity of Hyundai, and who has received the benefit of mongo real estate appreciation -- Eugene's housing prices have gone crazy in the closing days of the Wall Street Bubble -- was later elected mayor of this fine burb, and has, along with various and other sundry lower lifeforms, given the green light to manic overdevelopment. You might call it the rise of America's comprador bourgeoisie.

Alas, the Greens here, despite good intentions and a protest campaign, have done zip as far as organizing Hyundai or Sony workers. That fabled Red-Green synthesis ain't happening, at least not yet. But then, Eugene has way more activism than any provincial town of its size has a right to expect, so there you go.

-- Dennis (permanently part-time resident of Eugene, Oregon)

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