As debate over pending right-to-work legislation heats up in more states, huge U.S. government contracts are being awarded to more competitive nations.
Union workers at Colt Defense and Remington Arms were the latest to shoot themselves in the foot, losing the $77 million M4A1 contract to a Belgium-owned company that will operate in the right-to-work state of South Carolina.
The project initiated by the U.S. Army's Product Improvement Program is set to upgrade the Army's old issue M4 rifles to newer M4A1 models.
FN Herstal easily outbid Remington, coming in $7 million under. The initial part of the contract award - around $9.3 million worth - was posted at the government's Federal Business Opportunities site earlier this month.
Colt Defense, who had to give UAW union workers at its Connecticut plant a 5.5-percent raise over the past two years, was also unable to compete for the U.S. Defense Department’s business. It is likely, given the loss of government contracts, that many of the same union workers at Colt who got the pay raise will no longer have a job.
FN Herstal is 100 percent owned by the Walloon Region of Belgium," which in effect means the government of Belgium. The company will employ non-union U.S. workers in the South Carolina plant, however many administrative and sales jobs will be lost and the profits will be shipped off to Belgium, thereby shrinking the U.S. economy.
When the 5.5% wage hike was first announced at Colt Defense by UAW regional director Julie Kushner, she boasted that "being able to save jobs allows members to continue producing quality goods that support their families, community and our country."
However, instead of helping the union workers, the wage hike actually helped neuter Colt's quest to win the U.S. government contract that was awarded to South Carolina-based, foreign-owned FN Herstal.
While union membership in the U.S. is expected to decline further as developing nations become more industrialized, many political analysts were taken aback recently when Michigan, birthplace of United Autoworkers union, became a right-to-work state.
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