Alan and Gerald Zordan own Borgeson Universal Co. in Torrington, which produces steering components and has operated in Torrington since 1914.
By Alan and Gerald Zordan | 8 comments
... Connecticut’s high cost of doing business and its anti-employer attitude have finally driven us out. We are not moving for any government incentives.
Consider these facts:
• We sold our 50,000-square-foot building for enough money to buy a 100,000-square-foot building — and still had enough money left to pay for the transport of 100 trailer loads of machinery and equipment to our new site.
• The property taxes on our big new facility in South Carolina are much less than those on our smaller former building in Connecticut.
• Our utility costs in South Carolina, especially for electricity, will be about a third of what we paid here, though our space will more than double.
• We are taking a third of our employees with us and paying them the same wages. With South Carolina’s lower cost of living, it is as if they are getting a big raise. And we pay our new employees in South Carolina competitive local wages.
These savings could no longer be ignored.
At the same time, the constant hostility of the General Assembly, the governor, and state agencies, particularly the state Labor Department, settled the matter against staying in Connecticut.
Year after year employers like us have to fight off efforts to:
— Expand state requirements for paid sick leave.
— Increase the highest minimum wage in the nation to $15 per hour and more.
— Require paid family and medical leave.
— Impose unworkable restrictions on workforce scheduling.
— Restrict our ability to talk to our employees about union organizing efforts.
— And, of course, make us pay for every new “investment” policymakers think is a good idea.
We have always believed that to attract the best employees, we need to be among the best employers. We have never paid minimum wage and we have always offered our employees excellent benefits, including health insurance plans, paid vacation time, disability insurance, a 401(k) plan with employer matching contributions, profit sharing, and other time off based on individual needs.
Some people in authority in Connecticut refuse to understand that a mandated $15 minimum wage would mean that companies like ours would have to raise pay across the board. It would mean that rather than investing in our company and being able to create more jobs, we would have to raise pay for all employees, including those who are already being paid a good wage. These cost increases would cause us to raise the price of our product and become less competitive with companies outside Connecticut.
... We can’t afford to wait for the governor and the legislature to see they have a spending problem and to address it. We can’t wait for state government to make any more “investments” by giving our money to a few favored companies.
Perhaps the final straw for us was our mind-boggling treatment by the Labor Department, which actually awarded unemployment compensation to an employee who was fired for threatening a supervisor with physical harm.
No one is surprised that the only state agency we heard from when the word got out that we were thinking of leaving was the Labor Department, which insisted that we allow it into our company to conduct a seminar for our employees to tell them how to get all the benefits they were entitled to.
So, farewell to home, family, and friends. We have been forced to move to a place where we are welcomed and wanted.
Regrettably, it is no longer Connecticut.
Not surprisingly - this is Connecticut, after all, home to swarms of 5th-generation harelipped Democrats, the commenters mostly cheer their departure. You can find those comments at the link I provide above, but here's a representative sample:
This is the kind of employer Connecticut can do without. Any employer who does not think employees should be afforded the most basic things that employees in other countries get as minimum benefits is not a responsible employer. If these things are simply unaffordable, then there is something wrong with the market itself. So take a third of your employees down South where the cost of living is less, but so is the overall level of education, the health index, the cultural opportunities, and public safety. I hope your increased profits are worth it.
As always, Robert Heinlein's quote is appropriate here:
“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck.”