Foxconn promised to create thousands of jobs in Wisconsin but it hasn’t delivered on that promise and most recently it laid off 155 people in Indianapolis and shifted some production to Mexico.
The Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer changed its business plans and production objectives, according to U.S. Labor Department documents obtained by Reuters. The latest move has Wisconsin state Assemblyman Gordon Hintz (D-Wis.) wary of Foxconn
“All we’ve seen over the last year is changing scope of a project, things that no longer resemble what was originally promised and a lot of uncertainty,” Hintz, the minority leader in the Wisconsin Assembly, told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move.
In 2017, Foxconn was awarded multibillion dollar tax breaks and subsidies to build a new state-of-the-art LCD-screen factory and create up to 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin. To date, Foxconn has added a mere 170 jobs in the state, according to Hintz, who voted against the deal.
“That 13,000-job promise was associated with a specific project that they really sold us as being you know the future of LCD technology, the first of its kind in the world,” Hintz said. “That’s no longer happening.”
Renegotiating the Foxconn deal
Last April, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers told reporters he was trying to renegotiate the deal with Foxconn after the company changed its original plans and possibly violated terms of the deal it struck with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
On April 23, Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s leader for U.S. strategic initiatives tweeted that the firm remained committed to the initial deal.
Foxconn has never wavered from its commitment to its WEDC contract with the State of Wisconsin and the creation of 13,000 jobs and the requisite investments as part of its broader effort to help make the Badger state a global technology hub. https://t.co/xnEcRS8L3E— Alan S. Yeung (@alansyeung) April 24, 2019
But just one day later Yeung changed his tune via Twitter.
Calm down. Probably fake news 😂 Who has the crystal ball 🔮 to predict if 13,000 jobs will be created by the year 2032?— Alan S. Yeung (@alansyeung) April 25, 2019
Esp in April ‘19 🤔 🤗😀😎 https://t.co/P94H9V6Kw6
Yahoo Finance contacted several Foxconn representatives in Taiwan and the United States for comment. They did not respond.
Hintz remains skeptical and said there’s no guarantee Foxconn will ever deliver on its promise. “The most disappointing thing is the inability of Foxconn to be straight with what is happening. We don’t really know,” he said.
Foxconn will have some kind of factory in Wisconsin
Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Foxconn had signed contracts worth $13 million with three firms it called "outstanding Wisconsin-based companies” to move forward with construction of its new factory. The report, however, pointed out one of those firms is actually headquartered in Connecticut and another is based in the United Kingdom. But the Sentinel quoted a statement issued by Foxconn saying, "We're proud to be delivering on our 'Wisconsin First' commitment by awarding these contracts to outstanding Wisconsin-based companies.”
Hintz doesn’t buy Foxconn’s statement. “Foxconn is going to do what’s best for Foxconn as a global company and we shouldn’t expect them to care either about U.S. jobs or even Wisconsin jobs,” he said.
Adam Shapiro is co-anchor of Yahoo Finance On the Move.