The Harsh Truth of America's Factory Dream
Last year, Regina Elsea took a job in a factory in her hometown, Chambers County, Alabama. She was 20 years old, living with his fiancé in a rented home and needed to save money for the wedding and extra bills.
After years economic decline, Chambers County has been enjoying a manufacturing revival. Local officials offering tax breaks and other aid remade the county into a supply-chain link for South Korean carmakers. New factories arose to provide just-in-time parts for two nearby assembly plants — Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama, and Kia in West Point, Georgia, reports The Financial Times.
As a result, unemployment in Chambers County fell from 19.4 per cent in February 2009 to 5.5 per cent last year.
Elsea found work as a temporary employee — she was paid $8.50 an hour, according to her family — and the work killed her. On June 18 2016 — a Saturday — , Elsa vas crushed by a robot in an accident that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration found preventable.
The life and death of Regina Elsea points to a national predicament as President Trump seeks to “make America great again” by increasing industrial employment. With automation on the rise and unionisation on the decline, manufacturing jobs no longer guarantee a secure middle-class life as they often did in the past.
As reported in The Financial Times.