Flying High since 1998.

Gov. McAuliffe Phony New Jobs in Smyth County Virginia

Woodgrain Millwork announces the rehiring of 17 workers in Marion, Virginia. They started in 1996 with around 30 workers and now employs 140. This is touted as being related to the forestry industry which is puzzling - the State has spent millions trying diversify the local economy away from mineral extraction (coal) and timber. Instead this company is being paid $100,000 to do just the opposite of other efforts.

These are really not overall new jobs. This is a pathetic rehiring of workers laid off from identical jobs at Merillat that closed January 2013. See Smith County Loses Another 300 Jobs at Merillat. These are rehires not really new jobs.

Another furniture company came to Smyth County in November 21, 2013. Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co., Ltd. a Chinese company announced 125 "new" jobs when they largely rehired workers from Merillat. To quote a press release from the Gov. Bob McDonnell on the generous corporate welfare package:

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Smyth County and Virginia's aCorridor to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McDonnell approved a $250,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Smyth County with the project.

The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $450,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company's recruitment and training activities.

Read the press release.

The value of the above handouts is about equal to the $2.1 million from the company. Even both of the rehires combined if the jobs are ever delivered still doesn't come close to the 300 jobs lost at Merillat. This is a very unstable industry easy to relocate or shut down.

Additional job losses in wood related industry in Smyth County:

2002 Virginia House Furniture in Marion 334 layoffs;
2002 American of Martinsville Furniture in Marion 430 layoffs;
2001 Lea Industries Furniture in Marion 170 layoffs.

The company website is at

On November 6, 2014 Woodgrain Millwork fired 200 employees in Prineville, Oregon. To quote, "It's becoming a fatal pattern for the timber industry. The latest cutback at Woodgrain Millwork will have a big impact on the city and Crook County, where it's been the third-largest employer, with over 200 jobs."

Source: Yup, another good corporate citizen.

On the bad side we lost another 230 good manufacturing jobs in nearby Bristol at Ball Corp. in May. I hope this company will last. Ref. BHC April 19, 2016.

Additional jobs losses in mainly Smyth County:

1998 Tultex Apparel Chilhowie 200 jobs;
1999 Kerns Bakery East Bristol 180 jobs;
1999 PCS Phosphate Saltville 50 jobs;
1999 Buster Brown Apparel 300 jobs;
2000 McBee Systems check printing Damascus 65 jobs;
2000 GreenSeed Abingdon 10 jobs;
2000 Svedala Industries Mining Machinnary Saltville 25 jobs;
2000 US Gypsum Saltville 200 jobs;
2001 Natilie Knitting Chilhowie 350 jobs;
2001-2008 Electrolux Vacuum Cleaners 550-600 jobs**;
2002 Spring Ford Knitting Chilhowie 120 jobs;
2002 Dana Corporation auto parts Marion 200 jobs*;
2002 Virginia Glove Glade Spring 45 jobs;
2002 Bristol Brass Copper Bristol 65

That's almost 3000 jobs in three years all directly casualties of NAFTA. Thank you Bill Clinton and Congressional Republicans.

* DANA fired 270 workers in Bristol. See DANA Automotive Fires Bristol Workers Heads for Mexico.

** Electrolux fired 550 workers in Bristol and ended up collecting a colossal corporate welfare package from Tennessee.

Former Bristol Employer Gets $188 Million in Tennessee Corporate Welfare

The antics of Electrolux Corporation is an example of the rampant corruption of Republican Corporatism I've ever seen. They are literally paying companies to fire and downsize American workers with our tax dollars.

One critic put this deal in perspective when it closed just its Canadian operation:

So Electrolux was able to get rid of 60 workers, cut the wages of the jobs they kept by more than $4 per hour, get a more central distribution location, and a free factory courtesy of state and local governments in Tennessee.

The state also agreed NOT to sue to get the money back if Electrolux closed or failed to deliver!

Read the whole sorry story: Obscene Electrolux-Tennessee Incentive Deal Puts State at Risk by Lewis Loflin