Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 79. Sunrise is 5:43 AM and sunset 8:19 PM for 14h 36m 21s of daytime. The moon is new with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1934, two killed, 40 hurt in Kohler riot; National Guard occupies town:
On this day, the “model industrial village” of Kohler became an armed camp of National Guard cavalrymen after deadly strike-related rioting. The [day earlier] July 27th violence, which killed two Sheboygan men and injured 40 others, prompted the summoning of 250 Guardsmen to join the 200 special deputy village marshals already present. After striking workers became agitated and began to destroy company property, deputies turned to tear gas, rifles, and shotguns to quell the stone-throwing crowd, resulting in the deaths and injuries.
Owner Walter Kohler blamed Communists and outside agitators for the violence, while union leaders blamed Kohler exclusively. Workers at the Kohler plant were demanding better hours, higher wages, and recognition of the American Federation of Labor as their collective bargaining agent. Not settled until 1941, the strike marked the beginning of what was to become a prolonged struggle between the Kohler Company and organized labor in Wisconsin; a second Kohler strike lasted from 1954 to 1965.
Honest to goodness, critic of Foxconn although I have been, the public expenditure of 167 million dollars for Foxconn consultants still startles. Corrine Hess reports that
In the five years since the Racine County Foxconn development was announced with much fanfare, taxpayers in Mount Pleasant have spent nearly $167 million on vendors related to the project.
The money has been used to pay for attorneys, a public relations firm, real estate consultants and a project manager who is making $28,000 a month, according to records obtained by the Journal Sentinel.
Much attention has been paid to the deal struck between the Taiwanese manufacturing giant and the state, along with the failed promise to bring 13,000 high tech jobs to the enormous site. But even though little is apparently taking place at the site, the costs to the small residential and farming village in Racine County — virtually unknown until Foxconn — continue to mount.
It’s unclear what — if anything — Foxconn is doing at the site and the company has consistently refused access and tour requests by the Journal Sentinel and other media organizations.
Neither village elected officials nor Foxconn executives would comment for this story.
In April 2021, the state revised its $2.85 billion contract with the company to create more realistic goals including the creation of 1,454 jobs — 11% of the original plan — by 2024.
In recent public meetings, village officials have continued to defend the project, saying the money continuing to be spent will bring significant economic development. And, they maintain, the costs will be recouped.
Bills are paid using a $911 million special taxing district created by the village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County to pay for the local portion of the Foxconn project including land acquisition and infrastructure upgrades.
Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, which tracks corporate subsidies and incentives offered by state and local governments, said when deals like Foxconn don’t materialize it’s best for a community to cut its losses to minimize collateral damage.
“It’s hard to point to a lot of comparables because this degree of shenanigans has not gone on elsewhere,” LeRoy said of the Foxconn project.
It’s hard to see how the project could have been worse.