If Foxconn builds it, will workers come? Wis. bets yes

Terry Gou Chairman of Taiwan’s Foxconn also known as Hon Hai listens during a press conference in New Taipei City on June 22

The same week that Apple (AAPL) has kept mum about reports that it will build three plants in the US, one of its largest suppliers, Foxconn (FXCOF), announced plans for a new multi-billion dollar factory in Wisconsin.

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes, said she also has high hopes for the plant. In picking Wisconsin, Foxconn would appear to be giving a victory to both Trump and the state's Republican governor, Scott Walker, who is up for re-election next year.

Foxconn had considered building the plant in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, among other states. Labor advocates say the company imposes excessive overtime and pressure on workers, especially when it ramps up production ahead of new iPhone launches.

The announcement comes at a critical juncture for a Trump administration that pledged to generate manufacturing jobs but has struggled to deliver results as quickly as the president promised.

"The company's initial investment of more than 10 billion dollars will create 3,000 jobs at a minimum, with the potential for up to 13,000 jobs in the very near future", he said, accompanied by Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou.

"If I didn't get elected, he definitely would not be spending $10 billion", Trump said.

Following his stop in La Crosse, Governor Walker called for a special session next week to help get a $3 billion incentive package passed to help spur the deal. The incentives would only be awarded if Foxconn creates the jobs and pays an average salary of almost $54,000.

"To have this open and begin to be operational by 2020, we need to start now".

Foxconn is expected to select a 1,000-acre site in southeast Wisconsin and could be eligible for some additional local incentives, officials said.

So, in all the excitement, did Walker go too far in stating how many jobs are coming?

"Part of the reason why manufacturers big and small like to come to this state is because of the supply chain here and we know that supply chain is not just limited to the county or proximity where it's at", he said during his remarks.

Foxconn plans to make LCD screens for medical, automotive, aviation and entertainment industries at the plant in Wisconsin, and will be the first of its kind in North America.

Others are concerned about the company's ability to follow through on agreements; in 2013, Foxconn planned to invest $30 million to build a factory in Pennsylvania, but it was never built.

Walker says there will be a special legislative session to work out an incentives package in August.

Foxconn also needs around 150 suppliers to support its operations, potentially generating more than $1 billion every year in business for other Wisconsin companies.

Inside the White House, discussions with Foxconn about opening a US plant were led over several months by Jared Kushner, a senior adviser and the president's son-in-law, and Reed Cordish, an assistant to the president on technology initiatives.



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