Walker’s outsourcing clownshow attacks on Mary Burke and Trek Bicycles fall flat

Scott Walker is starting to get desperate now that a recent Marquette University poll shows the race for Wisconsin governor is in a dead heat with Mary Burke leading Walker, 47% to 46% with likely voters. Last May, Walker led Burke by 48% to 45% with likely voters. Since Walker can’t brag that his promise of creating 250,000 new private-sector jobs to Wisconsin by 2015 nor the pesky, expanding John Doe investigation, he’s flailing politically with attacking his probable opponent’s alliance with Trek Bicycle Corporation and their use of outsourcing. The Burke campaign is realizing that Walker will do anything to avoid his record and will play the “silly season” card to distract from the real issues.

Burke’s brother John, Trek’s CEO,  said the ad is wrong to blame his sister: “Mary had nothing to do with sourcing decisions at Trek. Those decisions were made by my father [the company’s founder] and myself,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

During her time at the family business, Mary Burke was director of European operations and later director of forecasting and planning. She left in 2004.


The conservative Wall Street Journal condemned Walker for his antics.

We normally associate criticism of outsourcing with Democrats, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a reminder that Republicans aren’t above playing the “Benedict Arnold CEO” card themselves to fan populist furies.


Burke could not have been more obvious and direct with her comments about Walker’s apparent lack of how business works.

“For him to drag a great Wisconsin company through the mud is bad for business — it’s all about politics with him,” she said in statement. “If he knew more about business he would understand the global marketplace and how you compete worldwide.”


Even Tea Party extremist Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson thinks Walker has his head up his patootie with the attack on Burke and Trek:

There’s at least one Republican uncomfortable with attacks on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke for being a millionaire and for the way her family’s bicycle firm pays taxes and uses outsourcing.

That would be U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

Johnson indicated that instead of hitting Burke on her wealth and the outsourcing by Trek Bicycle Corp., Gov. Scott Walker, a fellow Republican, and his campaign should promote the successes of his first term before the November election.

“I think there are far better areas to address,” Johnson said Tuesday during an interview with editors and reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “From my standpoint, we ought to be talking about…how do you make Wisconsin a more attractive place for risk-taking, business investment, business expansion.”

He lauded Walker for declaring early and often that Wisconsin was “open for business.”

“I think that’s a powerful statement,” Johnson said.

But when asked specifically what he thought of Republicans tagging Burke as “Millionaire Mary,” Johnson said, “I would prefer they not do it.”


Mary Burke has an actual “open for business” plan called Invest For Success that promotes insourcing in Wisconsin. Walker, while trashing companies that outsource, sure doesn’t mind taking political contributions from companies who outsource.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has received $68,500 in campaign donations from corporations that outsource jobs, according to a report from Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based WQOW, which referenced data from Walker’s latest campaign finance report.

The outsourcing corporations that contributed to Walker include, but are not limited to: WellPoint, Caterpillar, Deloitte, General Motors and Pfizer.

The news of these donations come as Walker has criticized his Democratic opponent Mary Burke over the fact that her family business, Trek Bicycle Corporation, makes some of its bike products in China, Germany and the Netherlands.


While Walker won’t say whether Trek Bicycles, who has over a thousand employees, is good for Wisconsin. His pet project Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation loves Trek, as seen on their web site!

Establishing a bigger mission of bikes—encouraging people around the world to get on a bike for transportation, recreation and fitness—requires global support, and most importantly, the support of your community. Trek Bicycle started in a barn in Waterloo, Wisconsin, and has developed into a global leader in the design and manufacturing of bikes and biking equipment. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) helps advance key industries, including bicycle manufacturing, by building mutually beneficial collaborations among sector participants. Together, our goal is to maintain and enhance Wisconsin’s status as a bike culture hub.

WEDC works with industry leaders like Trek to address challenges and create opportunities. With our network of more than 600 economic development partners, we offer customized solutions and resources to help companies start, grow or locate in Wisconsin.


Walker’s outsourcing ruse to avoid his abysmal job creation record (as well as many other extremist policies) also falls flat when the hypocrisy is exposed about how his pet project WEDC has given millions of dollars in tax breaks to companies who supported him who then sent jobs overseas:

In 2011, WEDC awarded Eaton Corp. with up to $1 million in tax credits if the company met job creation and retention goals at its manufacturing facility in Menomonee Falls. WEDC officials say the company has received $190,000 in tax credits so far.

In April of 2013, Eaton laid off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee and announced it was moving those jobs to Mexico. Less than a year later, WEDC awarded Eaton Corp. with up to $1.36 million in additional tax credits for a proposed $54 million expansion at that same Pewaukee plant. But on Wednesday, WEDC Spokesperson Mark Maley told 27 News Eaton Corp. “recently notified WEDC it will not seek any tax credits for this project.”

Eaton Corp. is based in Dublin, Ireland, but has numerous offices and interests in the United Kingdom, United States, Indonesia, Singapore, France, Germany and Mexico.

WEDC awarded Plexus Corp. of Neenah with tax credits of up to $2 million in 2011 and up to $15 million in 2012. Maley says Plexus has received $4.7 million in tax credits to this point.

In July of 2012, Plexus announced it was laying off 116 workers from its Neenah facility. The U.S. Department of Labor has since ruled those employees, as well as all Plexus employees laid off since December of 2011, are eligible to receive federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits. Those benefits are only available to employees who were laid off because their jobs were outsourced to foreign countries.

Plexus Corp. did not identify where it relocated those jobs to in 2012, but also has offices and interests in the United Kingdom, China, Germany, Romania, Malaysia and Thailand.


What is equally ironic is how the Walker campaign produced an ad called “Anthem” that used outsourced b-roll stock footage from a Canadian company to somehow convince uninformed voters that he was doing a good job as governor. Here is a description of how outsourced footage was used:

At that moment, the shot on the screen is a clip of two children jumping from a wooden dock into a lake, with mountains looming just beyond the shore.

Wisconsin, not being a particularly mountainous state, seems an unlikely location for the picturesque scene. The videographer, it turns out, is North East, England-based photographer Mark Bowden.

The footage of a tractor plowing a field comes from Italy’s OperoFilm. The happily spinning child comes from Brazil-based photographer Evandro Rigon, of Finish, and the cheerful woman in the garden is the work of Northampton, UK-based Robert Thomas.

“Unemployment is below the national average,” the ad says over a video of a man driving a truck. That shot is from the unfortunately-named SaddamStock, which hosts the portfolio of Odessa, Ukraine-based photographer Vladimir Nikulin.

“The goal is that everyone who wants a job can find a job,” it continues while a woman dresses a mannequin in a storefront. That’s the work of Simon Krzic, a videographer based in Vrhnika, Slovenia.

All the footage is hosted by iStock, an international company headquartered in Canada.


While Walker continues to attack Mary Burke’s business experience by twisting that Trek Bicycles is apparently the only successful Wisconsin company that outsources, business leaders and independents who needed an excuse to want Walker to lose now have the perfect reason to.