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"This Is A Symbol Of Where America Is Going"

- October 19, 2012

Taxpayers Are Paying Millions For Workers At An Electric Car Battery Factory That Has Yet To Produce A Single Battery

WORKERS AT A BATTERY MAKER THAT RECEIVED $151 MILLION FROM THE STIMULUS SPEND THEIR DAYS PLAYING BOARD GAMES AND WATCHING MOVIES

Watch The Story From Holland, Michigan's WOOD-TV Here

Workers At Stimulus Funded Battery Plant "Have So Little Work To Do That They Spend Hours Playing Cards And Board Games, Reading Magazines Or Watching Movies." "Workers at LG Chem, a $300 million lithium-ion battery plant heavily funded by taxpayers, tell Target 8 that they have so little work to do that they spend hours playing cards and board games, reading magazines or watching movies. They say it's been going on for months." (Ken Kolker, "Volt No Jolt: LG Chem Employees Idle," WOOD-TV [Holland, MI], 10/18/12)

  • "'There's No Work, No Work At All. Zero Work,' Another Current Employee Said. 'It Is What It Is. What Do You Do When There's No Work?'" (Ken Kolker, "Volt No Jolt: LG Chem Employees Idle," WOOD-TV [Holland, MI], 10/18/12)

Taxpayers Have Spent $7 Million Paying The Idle Workers. "A Target 8 analysis of federal records shows taxpayers spent $7 million to train workers and have paid more than $700,000 for workers' health and dental insurance." (Ken Kolker, "Volt No Jolt: LG Chem Employees Idle," WOOD-TV [Holland, MI], 10/18/12)

  • 40 Percent Of The $133 Million Spent By The Company So Far Has Gone To Foreign Companies. "The company has spent $133 million so far, most for construction and equipment, records show. About 40% has gone to foreign companies -- mostly to Korea, a Target 8 analysis shows." (Ken Kolker, "Volt No Jolt: LG Chem Employees Idle," WOOD-TV [Holland, MI], 10/18/12)
  • $533,000 From The Stimulus Award Was Spent On The Groundbreaking Ceremony. "The company also spent more than $533,000 of that federal grant for the groundbreaking, records show." (Ken Kolker, "Volt No Jolt: LG Chem Employees Idle," WOOD-TV [Holland, MI], 10/18/12)

"[Workers] Say The Last Of The Materials Needed To Make Battery Cells, Including Chemicals, Was Shipped Back To Korea." "They say the last of the materials needed to make battery cells, including chemicals, was shipped back to Korea. It's not clear if that includes any of the $1.8 million in materials paid for with that federal Recovery Act money. Workers say they made test battery cells, starting late last year, perhaps 100,000 or more, and that they did a good job. They say they produced perhaps 4,000 a week. But, they say, that worked ended for the most part last December." (Ken Kolker, "Volt No Jolt: LG Chem Employees Idle," WOOD-TV [Holland, MI], 10/18/12)

OBAMA CALLED THE STIMULUS FUNDED PLANT
A "SYMBOL OF WHERE AMERICA IS GOING"

THEN: When Obama Visited The LG Chem Site In 2010 He Said "This Is A Symbol Of Where Michigan Is Going, This Is A Symbol Of Where Holland Is Going, This Is A Symbol Of Where America Is Going." OBAMA: "So to all of you who have been part of this project, thank you. This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going." (President Barack Obama, Remarks On Advanced Batteries At Compact Power , Holland, MI, 7/15/10)

  • The Obama Administration Said The Plant Would Employ 550 Workers And Produce 15 Million Battery Cells A Year. "Compact Power is locating the new facility in Holland. The plant will eventually employ about 550 employees with annual production of approximately 15 million cells." (Fact Sheet, "Recovery Act Funding In Holland, Michigan And The Surrounding Area," The White House, 10/19/12)

NOW: Workers At LG Chem Are Being Furloughed And Not A Single Battery Has Been Produced At The Factory. "A lakeshore company that was meant to be a beacon for alternative technology is now putting its workers on furlough. In July of 2010, the ground-breaking of the LG Chem electric car battery factory in Holland Township was such a big deal that it brought Pres. Barack Obama to town. But the factory has yet to make a single battery, 24 Hour News 8 has learned, and its workers are having to take furloughs." (Dani Carlson, "LG Chem Plant Workers On Furloughs," WOOD-TV [Holland, MI], 9/27/12)

AFTER OBAMA GAVE THEM $151 MILLION IN STIMULUS FUNDS, THE COMPANY BROUGHT IN FOREIGN WORKERS TO BUILD THE FACTORY

LG Chem Was Among Two Korean Battery Manufacturers That Got Taxpayer Funds And Then "Bought A Lot Of Korean Equipment And Supplies. And They Filled Some Of Those Sought-After Jobs With Korean Workers." "In 2010, Obama and Vice President Biden personally appeared to break ground at two Michigan plants. The plants were getting a combined $300 million under the stimulus program to build electric car batteries. But as it turns out the companies getting all those American tax dollars are largely owned by Koreans. They bought a lot of Korean equipment and supplies. And they filled some of those sought-after jobs with Korean workers. That drew anger from local labor unions. They say pictures, taken inside the plants show Korean nationals doing hands-on work that should be done by Americans." (Sharyl Attkisson, "Unions Say Foreign Workers Taking Stimulus Jobs," CBS News , 4/13/12)

  • In A Response To A Freedom Of Information Act From Local Unions, The Obama Administration Admitted That 11 Of The 18 Contractors Working At The Site Were Firms Based In Asia. "The unions wrote complaint letters to the Labor Department and the president, but got few answers. So they filed a Freedom of Information Act request. In it, they asked for payroll records of LG Chem contractors performing construction work. The government's response named 18 companies; at least 11 of them are Asian firms. Energy Department officials say they're confident all laws are being obeyed, but declined our interview request to talk about foreign workers on stimulus jobs." (Sharyl Attkisson, "Unions Say Foreign Workers Taking Stimulus Jobs," CBS News , 4/13/12)
  • Union Officials Complained That With 29 Percent Unemployment Among Construction Workers, The Installation Of Equipment Could Have Been Done By Americans. "Still, area union officials say the work could be done by local trades men and women. 'To blatantly say these are high tech installation jobs, and cannot be performed by Michigan Tradesmen is a bending of the truth,' said William Borch, upstate business agent for Ironworkers Local 25. 'The rate of unemployment for Michigan construction workers is near 29 percent and Midland's neighboring Isabella County has the highest unemployment rate in the state. It is hard to believe that we allow this travesty.'" (Kathryn Lynch-Morin, "Company Official Says Korean Workers At Dow Kokam For Installation Only, Not For Long Term," Michigan Live, 12/13/11)

OBAMA PROMISED TO PUT A MILLION ELECTRIC CARS ON THE ROAD BUT THE BILLIONS SPENT ON THAT GOAL HAVE PRODUCED DISAPPOINTING SALES

PROMISE: In 2008, Obama Promised As President To Put "One Million 150 Mile-Per-Gallon Plug-In Hybrid Cars On Our Roads Within Six Years." OBAMA: "First, we'll commit ourselves to getting one million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid cars on our roads within six years. And we'll make sure these cars are built not in Japan, not in China, but right here in the United States of America." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At A Town Hall, Youngstown, OH, 8/5/08)

BROKEN: "Electric-Vehicle Sales Since 2011 Totaled Fewer Than 50,000 Through September, Just 5 Percent Of The President's Target." "Whether the technology itself is a loser or consumers are merely slow to adapt to new things, car buyers so far haven't embraced electric vehicles in numbers close to Obama's goal. Electric-vehicle sales since 2011 totaled fewer than 50,000 through September, just 5 percent of the president's target." (Angela Greling Keane, "Obama's $5 Billion Slow To Charge Electric Car Purchases," Bloomberg, 10/16/12)

  • Brett Smith, Co-Director At The Center For Automotive Research: "The Reality Is: That Business Model Isn't There Yet …" "'The reality is: that business model isn't there yet,' said Brett Smith, co-director of manufacturing, engineering and technology at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 'It isn't there yet for volume. It isn't there yet for reaching the mass consumer. And it probably isn't going to be there for a while.'" (Angela Greling Keane, "Obama's $5 Billion Slow To Charge Electric Car Purchases," Bloomberg, 10/16/12)

The Washington Post : "The American Taxpayer Has Gotten Precious Little For The Administration's Investment In Battery-Powered Vehicles, In Terms Of Permanent Jobs Or Lower Carbon Dioxide Emissions." "No matter how you slice it, the American taxpayer has gotten precious little for the administration's investment in battery-powered vehicles, in terms of permanent jobs or lower carbon dioxide emissions. There is no market, or not much of one, for vehicles that are less convenient and cost thousands of dollars more than similar-sized gas-powered alternatives - but do not save enough fuel to compensate. The basic theory of the Obama push for electric vehicles - if you build them, customers will come - was a myth. And an expensive one, at that." (Editorial, "GM's Vaunted Volt Is On The Road To Nowhere Fast," The Washington Post , 9/14/12)

  • The Failures Of Subsidized Car Manufacturers Are Dragging The U.S. Advanced-Battery Industry Down With Them, Leaving The Battery Companies Vulnerable To Foreign Purchase. "As these companies flail, they are taking the much-ballyhooed U.S. advanced-battery industry down with them. A Chinese company had to buy out distressed A123, to which the Energy Department has committed $263 million in production aid and research money. Ener1, which ran through $55 million of a $118 million federal grant before going bankrupt, sold out to a Russian tycoon." (Editorial, "GM's Vaunted Volt Is On The Road To Nowhere Fast," The Washington Post , 9/14/12)

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