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Lewis Loflin view Norton Va.
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Gates Corporation really bringing 172 jobs to Southwest Virginia?

by Lewis Loflin

Update November 2011: The answer is no. I warned earlier we would never see those jobs and I was right. See Gates Corp. Dumps Washington County - Corporate Welfare Fiasco.

With the offer of a free $1 million building plus other unknown (at this time) corporate welfare, Gates Corp. plans to locate at the Glade-Highlands Industrial Park. This is located at I 81's Exit 29 in Washington County where 13 new industrial sites have been empty for years costing taxpayers millions with zero results.

They claim production will start in September to produce hydraulic assemblies and to quote, "Hopefully by July, we'd like to start interviewing; start the hiring process...The jobs will pay a little better than the average wage in the area." Ref Herald Courier 6-1-2007.

To quote a local news report, (The) "company is benefiting from a nearly $1 million free building, which is being paid for with state and county dollars. Washington County officials say they'll get the money back in taxes...It is the first industry to locate in the industrial park, which has sat empty for half a decade."

Will not happen because there's so many kickbacks and giveaways what taxes they get on tools and equipment won't cover it. Also, is the value of the building being taxed or is this another scam?

Update: Gates Corp. will get an additional $600,000. The local government doesn't allow independent verification of these promises of jobs nor do they track pay. The employment commission suppresses information on employment in this area. Even if they hire the projected 172 workers, that's a cost of $9300 per job. The same mostly unskilled workers could have attended four years of community college for that. In 2008 local colleges suffered a 5% cut in funding.

But who is Gates Corp? To quote the company, "The Gates Corporation is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, USA. Known worldwide for its belts & hose, Gates is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tomkins plc. Tomkins is an international group of companies focused on manufacturing, with leadership across three business groups: Industrial and Automotive, Air System Components, and Engineered and Construction Products." According to the Denver Business Journal June 28, 1996 was bought by something called Tomkins of London. Thus it's a foreign owned company.

This location is part of a typical corporate process of firing workers and seeking cheap labor and corporate welfare. According to Gates they closed down the Elizabethtown, Kentucky Belt Plant in 2003 and fired 437 workers to ship the jobs to other divisions. Their website (as of 1 June) has a job opening for machinist (union job) in Denver paying almost $21 an hour. Here that same job might pay $9 an hour.

Gates homepage is at

It must be emphasized that Gates Corp. has done nothing improper, this is how big business works today. They are only taking advantage of government fools and getting a free lunch served by them.

Additional information on the money:

Abingdon 9-26-06 minutes, Washington County Supervisors

7. Consideration of Letter of Support for ARC Application FY 07-08 - "SW Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing" Assistant County Administrator Christy Parker addressed the Board explaining that the Smyth Washington Regional Workforce Consortium is seeking grant funds in the amount of $100,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

Ms. Parker explained that the ARC grant requires matching funds; therefore $50,000 is being sought from local governments ($25,000 from each County) and $75,000 from private industry. She further explained that the grant funds would be used to continue the workforce development program that was established when the Smyth-Washington Regional Industrial Facilities Authority (SWIFA) received the Virginia Works Grant.

The Smyth Washington Regional Workforce Consortium was created composed of industry leaders in both counties. The Consortium hired a director, Mr. Bruce Kravitz, to lead the Consortium.

The Consortium has partnered with the National Association of Manfacturers' Dream it Do it manufacturing careers campaign to encourage young people to pursue careers in manufacturing. Ms. Parker recommended that the Board invite Mr. Kravitz to a future Board meeting to make a presentation.

On motion of Mr. Rector, second by Mr. McCrady, the Board acted to endorse the application from the Smyth-Washington Regional Workforce Consortium to ARC and to provide $25,000 in local matching funds. The vote on this motion was as follows: (7-0) Mr. McCall Aye Mr. McCrady Aye Mrs. Mumpower Aye Mr. Owens Aye Mr. Price Aye Mr. Rector Aye Mr. Reynolds Aye

See to read about "Southwest Virginia Launches Dream It. Do It. Careers Campaign In Response To Skilled Worker Shortage" and read about their phony labor shortage. Then visit the employment commission link below and ask them why these jobs are not listed. For more information, visit

This is a front for the National Association of Manufacturers ( under "Issues summery" we find under immigration issues:

Educating and training American workers while welcoming foreign talent are not mutually exclusive; in fact it is among our country's richest traditions. The NAM supports exempting from the numerical cap foreign nationals who are graduates of U.S. universities with Master's or PhDs Highly educated foreign nationals are job creators who spur economic growth and for whom there is fierce world-wide competition.

It is imperative that we work to keep this homegrown talent in the United States instead of going to work for our competitors abroad. The NAM also supports the traditional use of the L-visa program as a tool to facilitate international trade and investment by facilitating the transfer of key personnel.

The US graduates 300,000 engineers, etc. every year but only 120,000 are in demand. It's about cheaper labor. By the way, as of May 30, 2007 (today) IBM cut another 1500 skilled workers.

More Corporate Welfare

May 31, 2007 from

Governor Kaine Announces 172 New Jobs for Washington and Smyth Counties - Gates Corporation to invest approximately $8 million in first Virginia facility

Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced that Gates Corporation, the largest non-tire rubber manufacturer of automotive and industrial products, systems and components in North America, will invest approximately $8 million to open its first Virginia facility in the Highlands Business Park, an industrial park jointly developed by Smyth and Washington counties. The company intends to create 172 new jobs...

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Washington County, Smyth County, the Smyth-Washington Regional Industrial Facilities Authority and Virginia's eCorridor to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Kaine approved $300,000 from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist both counties with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $300,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds to support the project.

The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, because it is locating in a Virginia Enterprise Zone. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

"We are excited to have the Gates Corporation choose our community to locate its newest manufacturing facility, and we look forward to the company being a long-term, stable employer for the region," said Kenneth Reynolds, Chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors. "It is great to see the result of the hard work and cooperation of both counties in the regional industrial park. We think that the Gates project will not only create these jobs announced today, but will lead to additional private investment in the park," said Charlie Clark, Chairman of the Smyth County Board of Supervisors.