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Blue Collar Voters: Trade Is Killing Us

From David Goldstein writing at McClatchy DC:

Maurice King worked for Joerns Healthcare, a medical furniture manufacturer, for nearly 43 years. Until suddenly one day, he didn’t.

Joerns shuttered its plant in Stevens Point, Wis., in 2012 after years of gradually outsourcing work to China. It cut loose 175 workers. Now the 62-year-old former local steelworkers union president works a 2-11 p.m. shift at a fan factory.

No more local fish fries on Friday nights with his wife, or his side job for 25 years as town chairman in Dewey, population 975. He hasn’t yet earned a week of vacation. As for retirement? That’s been pushed back.

“You had the job, you figured you were planning out how things were going to go,” King said. “Now you’ve got to back up and rethink.”

Establishment voices of economists, government and business officials argue that trade deals are critical in a global economy, and great for America. But critics such as organized labor call them “death warrants.”

And in blue collar communities in Wisconsin and across the industrial Midwest, that economic angst, coupled with some sense of betrayal, helps explain the roiling politics of 2016.

Read the rest of the story at McClatchy DC.

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