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Letter: Greedy corporations don’t merit tax breaks

Greedy corporations don’t merit tax breaks

I wish I could say I’m shocked, but again I’m not. I read the article in the business section of The News reporting that Gildan was closing its shirt factory and moving the operations to Honduras. The company cited the “need” to consolidate in order to “achieve a more efficient supply chain.”

Gildan’s stock soared from $17 in 2011 to $67 a share this past November. It had $320 million in net earnings, U.S. dollars. It received some money from the Clarence Industrial Development Agency – a minuscule amount of $54,000. What would a billion-dollar multinational corporation need with that paltry amount? Welcome to the public trough!

Let’s start with the “need” to consolidate operations to Honduras. According to an article in the Globe and Mail, Honduras has been bedeviled by military coups, narcotrafficking and drought. It has the highest murder rate in the world, and is the second-poorest country in Central America. While trade unions are legal, trade unionists are regularly murdered: 31 have been assassinated and over 200 have been injured.

It’s estimated that a Gildan worker in Honduras makes $351 a month, about $2 an hour. It’s estimated that $683 a month, about $4 an hour, would be considered a livable wage in Honduras.

Clarence Town Supervisor David Hartzell believes taxpayers should continue to subsidize employers that refuse to pay a living wage in order to keep those jobs here. So now the livelihood of 80 people hangs in the balance because another corporation that was lauded when it came into town has soaked up as much as it can and is moving on, to exploit the people of Honduras, to feed its greedy appetite.

It’s time to raise, not lower, the standards in New York State.

John Mudie

Co-chairman, Board of Directors

Coalition for Economic Justice