Jan 26, 2007

Chinese Buying Up American Manufacturer Hoover

Techtronics, an Asian company, that is a major producer of floor-care appliances under the names Royal, Dirt Devil and Regina but is best known as a maker of power tools sold under the well-known brands Milwaukee and Ryobi.

In a
Chicago Tribune article by staff reporter James P. Miller, Whirlpool which owns the Hoover floor care business, is selling it for $107 million.

Mr. Miller accurately described, in the article, the situation that low-cost foreign labor has put American manufacturers in:

“Part of the rise of low-cost floor-care producers can be traced to the growing importance of "big box" retailers in the United States. High-volume retail chains, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp., routinely use their purchasing power to squeeze lower prices from suppliers. That situation puts companies with domestic manufacturing facilities, like Hoover, at a disadvantage.”

Hoover has manufacturing facilities in Texas, Mexico and it’s home base of Canton, Ohio. The Canton facility currently employs 850 unionized workers, and when these jobs are sent overseas, Canton will lose more than 850 quality manufacturing jobs. From Hoover’s web site:

“Today, Hoover employees carry on that legacy. Via the Management Charitable Fund and Employees' Civic Fund, they support the United Way, the area's fine arts organizations, college fund drives and other efforts.Employees serve on the boards of numerous non-profit agencies, including Goodwill Industries, the Better Business Bureau, The Cultural Center for the Arts, and the Stark County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. In other volunteer activity, Hoover employees do everything from fighting fires to teaching Sunday school to serving as Big Brothers or Big Sisters to children in single-parent families.”