Death of the Hanover Plant

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

In the far northwest corner of Illinois lies a town called Hanover. Located 20 miles from Galena, part of the town has a huge factory complex that makes water valves for washing machines and refrigeration. Owned by a company called Robertshaw, this factory has provided decent wages for workers in that part of Illinois for years. No more. Robertshaw recently announced that the whole factory will be shut down and that all production will be moved to Mexico. Over 170 workers will lose their jobs—their work is being outsourced because Robertshaw is looking for a country with cheaper wages. Despite the promises of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. President Barack Obama, corporations continue to outsource American jobs.

This tragedy is still playing out because the corporations still get their tax benefits even when they take American jobs out of the country to Third World countries for cheaper wages. This loophole in the U.S. code is still one that the corporations exploit to the fullest. And they will make sure that this is not changed no matter how much money they have to spend to buy congressmen and local and state politicians. For the people of Hanover, this could not be a more low smack in the face. The loss of these jobs will mean more than the loss of work for 170 people. It will mean that those businesses that depend on these workers for their services will be forced to leave Hanover. It will mean that the very town itself will have no tax revenue coming in from those workers who could pay these taxes. This will impact the town’s public facilities and private businesses such as the library, the police and fire departments, and all of the restaurants and shops. The restaurants and shops might survive because they are located on Rout 84, which is a major route going to Galena and eventually to Dubuque, Iowa.

The president of Hanover, Donald Schaible, is looking for another company to take over the plant once Robertshaw has vacated it. More than anything, I wish Schaible and the whole of Hanover all the best in finding a replacement. I do NOT want to see the town shrink and die to become little more than a ghost town. But this attempt to help replace one company for another should not just be a challenge for the president of Hanover and the Hanover board of trustees. It should also be a direct challenge for incoming Illinois governor Bruce Rauner. With the record number of good paying jobs having left Illinois, Rauner must realize that job losses like this example in Hanover will only decrease the tax rolls for Illinois. If Rauner wishes to bring in a more business friendly administration, he will have to work as hard as possible to convince those companies already here why they should stay in Illinois, and those who might be interested in Illinois why the state is worth investing in. Hopefully this will help save so many communities like Hanover from becoming ghost towns.

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