I recently visited with my daughter and her family and my brother who live in the Dallas suburbs of Plano and Frisco, Texas. An article in the May 14 issue of The Dallas Morning News that proclaimed the opening of Toyota’s new billion-dollar American headquarters in Plano intrigued me.
“Right-to-work” Texas did it again, I thought as I read the headline “An alliance of driving forces: Toyota opens doors to new Plano home.” And so, with trepidation, I read the article.
And then I got the shock of my life.
Of all the company and local leaders who talked about the many reasons Plano was selected over 25 other final sites, not one mentioned ANYTHING about it being a so-called “right-to-work” state!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
What? After all, the Republicans here have told us over and over again that RTW was the key factor in attracting new plants and thus new jobs.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs” was the Republican mantra as they rushed passing RTW as their first piece of legislation in the last session. And Gov. Eric parroted that: “Today right-to-work sends a very clear message … Missouri is open for business.”
WOW, ARE THEY WRONG
I urge the governor and his Republican cohorts to read the Dallas Morning News article because it has some keen insights:
• North Caroline offered Toyota $100 million in incentives. Texas only $46 million.
Incentives “weren’t make-or-break factors,” said Toyota North American CEO Jim Lentz.
Notes a subhead in the article, “Cost wasn’t clincher.” Really, what then caused Toyota to bring a $1 billion American headquarters here?
• Says the local Chamber of Commerce’s point person for the project: “They wanted to know about schools and demographics. They wanted to tour neighborhoods and know about potential job opportunities for spouses… they needed to convince Toyota employees that North Texas is a place where they could put own roots.”
• The commercial real estate rep who handled the deal: “…companies looking to move are increasingly prioritizing quality-of-life factors over cheaper office space.”
• Plano’s economic development director: Toyota “has said repeatedly, values diversity and inclusivity.”
• Plano’s mayor noted Plano’s equal rights ordinance passed in 2014 that bars discrimination against LGBT people. That diversity, couples with the city’s proximity to Dallas museums and theaters, and… sports teams, made Plano stand out.
• Added the mayor: “Companies want to come here because it’s safe, the schools are great and the third component is quality of life.
WHAT, NO RTW AS A KEY?!
In the article, at least 5,000 words long covering one-and-a-half full newspaper pages, not a single word about the phony “right-to-work” as even a consideration!
And as we’ve pointed out in many articles, in Site Selection Magazine surveys RTW is not even in the top 15 reasons site selection experts cite as reasons for recommending company locations.
RTW is simply a way to reduce the ability of unions to fight for workers’ rights, workers’ wages, and workers’ benefits. Weak unions = larger company bottom lines and fatter CEO salaries and bonuses.
Gov. Eric, the political coward he is, didn’t take Missouri workers into consideration when he signed RTW, he looked to the fat donations his corporate handlers will give him as he tries to move up the political ladder to run for Donald Trump’s job.
And so, Missouri, we’ve been bamboozled yet again!