Gates Corp. Dumps Washington County Corporate Welfare Fiasco

by Lewis Loflin

See my original warning at Gates Corporation really bringing 172 jobs to Southwest Virginia?.

Gates Corporation was lured into Washington County about fours years ago with free buildings and generous corporate welfare. I warned then they wouldn't stay and they were in the process of firing and canning workers elsewhere even as they moved into that free building. Now it's been announced they are going to Mexico.

That's not so odd because this little announcement was made June 25, 2009 foretold the future:

Gates Corp. announced plans to close its facility in Boone, Iowa, by the end of its fiscal fourth quarter. The move will lead to the layoff of 110 employees at the plant, which manufactures hydraulic-coupled hose assemblies. Gates plans to move production of the hose assemblies to facilities in Kansas and Virginia...

And this:

Gates Corp. to eliminate 68 additional positions in Kansas Gates Corp. announced plans to lay off 68 workers at its plant in Iola, Kan. The manufacturer of industrial and automotive products, which is based in Denver, has laid off more than 120 Iola employees since January. After the latest round of layoffs, the Iola plant employs 370 people. KFOR-TV (Oklahoma City)/The Associated Press (3/18/2009)

That is what they make at Glade Spring and they are moving again. They claim it's due to tornado damage, but in fact was planned all along in my opinion. Most of these jobs have been here less than two years and never reached the levels promised near as I can find out. To quote the Herald Courier September 14, 2011:

Christy Parker, economic development director for Washington County, said the developer that finished the building for Gates, not the company, actually owns the building...Gates will be responsible for paying back a portion of the economic incentive package the company received for locating in Washington County, Parker said, although the amount that must repaid won't be calculated until Gates formally communicates its decision. The amount also will depend on how close Gates came to meeting its job-creation obligation, she said.

As part of its economic development package for locating in the Highlands Business Park, the company received grants from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the Smyth-Washington Regional Industrial Facilities Authority.

In the past Christy has refused to try to get our money back and I'll bet there will be no effort this time. Why in the hell would they be so stupid to lure in a company like Gates with that kind of hire/fire/relocate record? This has gone on since 2000 with this company. Let's get that money back Ms. Parker. In fact the Company has made no official announcement and seems to be hiding from the press.

Posted summer 2015.