Counting our chickens before they're hatched

Foxconn Site Tour

Our Badger Eye correspondent, Dan Wilson, takes you on a tour of the new Foxconn site in Racine County.

Weighing the Environmental Risks Of Electronics Fabrication In Wisconsin

When it comes to the environmental impact of manufacturing electronics, there is an essential distinction between fabrication and assembly. Creating the basic components that of a device is a process that fundamentally results in a variety of byproducts, some of which can pose threats to ecosystems, human health and essential resources. Putting those components together into a finished product requires energy and resources too, but this step leaves a much less significant environmental footprint.

The Rules For Great Lakes Water And Foxconn's Thirsty Operations

Wisconsin legislators have proposed carving out broad environmental exemptions for a proposed Foxconn factory. An incentives bill currently working its way through the legislature would streamline how the state applies the Great Lakes Compact if the facility decides to use water from Lake Michigan. Given the thirsty nature of LCD fabrication, southeastern Wisconsin is an attractive area for Foxconn to build a factory with access to water in mind.

Thank you, Wisconsin, for the beautiful gift

Friends in the Wisconsin Legislature, we beg you: Sign that bad deal with Foxconn,” recently wrote the Chicago Sun Times editorial board. “It’s the neighborly thing to do.”

The Wisconsin Assembly obliged the Chicago newspaper and recently voted 50-39 to approve the Governor’s deal with the Taiwanese company, Foxconn.

But lawmakers were not voting on the deal itself. Contract negotiations are presumably underway. Legislators who voted on the deal did not see the contract, they do not know the details under negotiation, nor will they approve the final negotiated contract.

Rep. Gordon Hintz - Where will Wisconsin find the workers?

The shiny object in front of lawmakers’ eyes when talking about the Foxconn proposal is the potential of new jobs.  “13,000 direct jobs!  Another 22,000 indirect jobs!”

 

All of these claims ignore the reality in 2017 Wisconsin faces. If the jobs do materialize, where will the workers come from?

 

The important statistic when considering the availability of labor is the “prime working age” population, which economists classify as people between 25 and 54 years old. Wisconsin had 105,000 fewer prime working age people in 2015 than it did in 2010. Some of the sharpest decreases occurred in Jefferson, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties. As the state with the 15th oldest population in the U.S., Wisconsin’s prime working age population is expected to continue to shrink through 2040 to just 33% of its total population.  This is down from 41% in 2010.

Wiscontext - What Foxconn Means For The Great Lakes Compact

Foxconn Logo

At the turn of the century, a Canadian company named Nova Group sparked outrage across the Great Lakes region when it proposed to withdraw millions of gallons water from Lake Superior water and sell it in Asia.

Foxconn or Fox-Con - The Foxconn story in Wisconsin

Foxconn Logo

We will continue to update this Storify story as news comes in. Please comment on this if you know of something interesting we have missed.

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Foxconn: The Hype and the Small Print

Kathleen Vinehout

Great News! A big tech company called Foxconn is coming to southeast Wisconsin and bringing with it a lot of new jobs. The new company will build a big factory and make flat screens for computers.

Counting our chickens before they're hatched

Foxconn Workers

All of Wisconsin is apparently agog over the Foxconn plant announcement that is coming this afternoon. Still, color me skeptical. Rumors are that Wisconsin is offering a huge tax break to Foxconn in return for building the plant, and the state has certainly paved the way by stomping on unions and generally making the living wage a past dream, something that Foxconn is certainly going to appreciate. But rumors abound that the state is offering somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000 per job in tax "bounty" for the plant. I'm not sure that the state will be able to actually agree to pony up a tax break that big, particularly in view of the current inability to pass a state budget even without the complication of a huge tax break for business. It's not at all clear where this leaves the local governments that will still need to provide services for the plant, their employees, and more.