Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson has no intention of persuading Oshkosh Defense, a manufacturing company, to relocate over 1,000 jobs to his home state of Wisconsin over South Carolina. His lack of effort is producing an outcry from his Democratic challengers who say that he is oblivious to the needs of the Wisconsin public and are petitioning for reform.
“It’s not like we have no jobs here in Wisconsin,” said Sen. Johnson at a news conference Saturday. “The biggest problem we have in Wisconsin right now is employers not being able to find enough workers.”
Johnson intends to go along with the company's current plan to establish a facility for building the “next generation” of U.S Postal Service trucks in Spartanburg, South Carolina, indicating that the company should make the final call on the manufacturing location.
Oshkosh Defense won the contract to produce the vehicles last February Johnson’s Democratic challengers do not agree with his motives and are fighting for the trucks to be built in Wisconsin by residential employees. His competitors’ public concern foreshadow what may be the result in the upcoming election where economic issues will be especially present.
Senate candidate and current Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson argued that the added manufacturing jobs would provide a multiplier effect and create work for Wisconsinites that are seeking employment. He also noted that Johnson “wants a third term and just doesn't understand economic development.”
Unionized Oshkosh workers and their national counterparts have called to the public, begging for the more than 1,000 jobs to remain local. Sen. Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) believes that the work in South Carolina would not be done by union labor and sent a letter to Oshkosh Corp. management in an effort to discover what locating to South Carolina would really accomplish.
"It's my job to support job creation in Wisconsin and I want the trucks built here," Baldwin said in a statement. "To me, it's simple — I want Oshkosh Defense to manufacture trucks in Oshkosh with Wisconsin workers."
The Democratic council believes that job creation in Wisconsin should be supported and that Sen. Johnson’s plan to back the move to South Carolina is “blasphemy”.