Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Um, Yeah, About Those Mining Jobs

Scott Walker and the Republicans have been trying to justify their ramming through the mining bill (a bill of the mining companies, for the mining companies, by the mining companies) by stating that it will create lots of jobs.

Oddly, the number of jobs this is supposed to create keeps going up.  The last I saw, it was 7,000 jobs.  It must be up to 15,000 by now.

But they never say who is going to get those jobs.  Charlie Sykes, mouthpiece for the Teapublicans, keeps telling us since the iron ore they are after is here in Wisconsin, the jobs can't be outsourced.

Wanna make a bet?
A major B.C. labour organization denounced on Monday the “mass importation” of Chinese workers to mine coal in the northeast part of the province, saying it is “preposterous” to suggest British Columbians don’t have the skills to fill close to 2,000 full-time jobs destined for foreign workers.

“We want to register our grave concerns about the uses and abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program as it relates to projects in British Columbia,” the organization told Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Christy Clark in an open letter.

It was issued by the Bargaining Council of the B.C. Building Trades Unions, made up of 15 unions representing 35,000 craft construction workers, including underground miners.

“We believe this mass importation of labour is completely unnecessary and is simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal mining in China,” wrote BCBCBTU President Mark Olsen.

“The coal mining in that country is patently unsafe and the industry there shows little regard for the life, health and well-being of the workers in that country.”
By the way, Scott Walker met with the Chinese last September in Texas and is going to China next month.

So again, I ask, who are those jobs for?


  1. Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate voted *against* an amendment to the mining bill that would make sure that the mining company actually hired against Wisconsin workers.

    1. So much for moving Wisconsin forward

  2. Charlie defends Palermos, after all, as a great job creator. Yet I thought I heard that after Mexican workers struck the pizza factory, those funny boss brothers next turned to Burmese.

    1. Last I heard 10% of the workforce is now Burmese. Talk about exploitation .

  3. Chinese jobs? Probably not, but 7000 jobs? Certainly not. The press release from 2-3 years ago announced 500 mining jobs and the Northstar Economics study added 2,000 ancillary jobs. Ancillary included convenience store, restaurant and hotel workers; hardly jobs that will sustain an economic recovery north of Highway 8.
    Sadly, we now pin our hopes for environmental protection on the EPA and the ACOE, although we also have the benefit of time. By the time the first ton of ore is mined we will have a new governor and new legislatures. Hopefully they can head off the destruction and save the wetlands, the trout and the haunting beauty of dark northern Wisconsin nights.

    1. The workers need not come from another country, but they might come from another state - and then leave after they are done with Wisconsin to follow mining jobs elsewhere.

    2. BS
      Tru dat. By the time the mine is dug there will probably be hundreds of laid off MN and MI miners with years of experience. They will be hired first and I suspect that the promise of an $80,000 a year job will quickly erode to $45,000 if there are excess workers.

    3. Bill makes a good point.

      Mining jobs are not not just filled by people walking in off the street. In fact off of an article I was doing, I learned that the mining industry considers the world "their hiring hall."

      The companies quite often expect to use experienced miners, and the job today does not involve hiring someone in, handing them a pick axe and saying "go to work."

  4. I am hoping that when Governor Walker goes to China he sees how much the government invests in infrastructure, not just roads and cars, but public transportation and trains.

    I think our country is very far behind other countries as far as infrastructure-not every country, but countries that invest. The Chinese government does invest in their own country. Walker going to China is a good thing in my opinion.

    I think a guest worker program for the US is a very bad idea. It is much better to offer a citizenship path that is useful because then people will be more invested. Having a group of second class citizens with less rights than everyone else is a recipe for disaster.

    1. The last place to get ideas from is China. Unless you are looking for examples of what not to do. Graft, pollution, inept regulation, massive government subsidies, crony capitalism...what an inspiring place for a guy like Walker.

  5. Speaking of trains there is a nice article in the Capital Times about how Wisconsin companies are profiting from the uptick in rail passengers and the high speed rail industry. Yesterday's paper.

  6. When speaking of the jobs issue in conjunction with Governor Walker's negative contribution, I always like to remind readers that early in his administration he turned down $850 million in federal stimulus money intended for the construction of high speed railroad infrastructure in Wisconsin. Had he not done that, it is guaranteed that hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs would have ensued.

  7. I think Walker's meetings with Chinese officials have more to do with his recent proposal to repeal an 1887 law forbidding foreign corporations from owning more that 640 acres of land in Wisconsin. Walker claims the law is in violation of international free trade treaties. Who knew Walker was such a defender of treaties and international law over American law? He kind of sounds like one of them Libruls!

    The Chinese are currently buying farmland all over the world, including the United States and they probably have their eyes on some of the best farmland available, right here in Wisconsin. And who is to say that GTAC won't sell their mining interest to the Chinese as well, if the price is right.

    Wisconsin Teabillies will be in for a surprise when they discover that their hero has sold them out to the Chicoms.

  8. It's so funny this is all coming to light now, because in his 2010 budget he was offing education money and services for Chinese, and I had to ask myself what's with all the Chinese funding considering we are cutting our own schools funding? Welp, here we go, I wonder if all those federation of Americans aka tea farty corporate stinkers saw that coming. If they keep following their Pied Piper, they'll find he's led them astray, and maybe vote for the Democrats in our state that have been fighting for our interests.

  9. Just to prove I'm on to something with this Chinese land-grab theory, Chris Dickert of State Journal, has a column today poo-pooing the idea that Chinese land speculation might become an issue. Apparently the real danger is from Denmark. Dickert is a reliable contrary indicator of reality. It's difficult to tell whether he wrote his column under the influence of vodka and sedatives or was attempting irony, but this is typical of his prose.

    Meanwhile, the best writer on the newspaper, George Hesselberg, who lost his column as punishment for the crime of being right about the Iraq war, is still stuck covering small-town garage sales. Life truly is not fair.

  10. It's not at all a reach to conjecture that some kind of Chinese "consultants" could be called on. When it comes to cutting very deep gashes and scars in the earth, deeper than 500 meters, mining companies in China have as much or more experience than anyone else.

  11. Uniting northern Wisconsin factions.March 5, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Walker and the republican toadies in the assembly have spent hours, days, months and millions on a "divide and conquer" mining bill.

    They pitted environmentalist against job seekers.

    They pitted job seekers against Native Americans on the Bad River Reservation.

    They have promised JOBS to the WISCONSIN job seekers.

    The job seekers will now expect those promised jobs to be filled by themselves and their neighbors.

    How long do the morons in Madison think the locals will tolerate those jobs going to non-Wisconsin workers?

    Here is a hint: NOT ONE F...ing second.

    The reality is that those expecting jobs will end up standing shoulder to shoulder with the environmentalist in opposition to the broken promises of jobs and yes ironically the environment.

    Stopping the digging to demand Wisconsin jobs and stopping the digging thus ironically saving the environment end up with the same results. Stopping the digging!

    Making allies out of the "divided and conquered" factions.

  12. Wait a second.
    Was the objection by Walker about the foreign ownership of land based on treaties?
    Then why won't he respect the Native American treaty rights?

    I forgot. They didn't offer him enough money.

  13. Walker said he'd create 250,000 jobs.

    I don't ever recall his saying that Wisconsinites would necessarily get 'em. How conveeenient!