Sometimes in politics hatred runs so deep that facts simply don’t matter.
We saw an example of this Wednesday in Overland Park, Kansas as a group of two “theatrical protesters” sought to inform attendees at an Americans for Prosperity rally about what they thought was the true nature of that organization.
Their argument, presented in a handout paid for by the Kansas Democratic Party and given to attendees, went like this:
First: “My friends at Americans for Prosperity can be a little shy — which is why they’ve outsourced the job of letting you know who they really are to me.”
This charge of outsourcing — made by two women theatrically dressed in sorcerer’s outfits: “out sourcerers,” get it? — is a common criticism of big business. Democrats often campaign on a pledge of eliminating tax breaks for American companies that outsource jobs overseas. Whether these jobs are created at the expense of American jobs is a matter of contention.
Then, the handout notes a fact that I think just about everyone knows by now and has never been hidden: “Americans for Prosperity was founded by billionaire CEO David Koch. [New York Times, 7/10/08]”
(Not to quibble too much here, but the New York Times article referenced describes David Koch’s position as “executive vice president and a board member of Koch Industries,” not CEO.)
Then comes the heart of the charge: that Koch Industries outsources American jobs to China: “One of Koch Industries’ key subsidiaries actually won an award for Outsourcing Excellence” after they shipped American jobs to China. [Freeborders Press Release, 6/1/06; http://www.invista.com/page_whois_shareholder_en.shtml]”
Earl Glynn of Kansas Watchdog looked into this matter and found out that the outsourcing took place before Koch Industries owned INVISTA, the company that did the outsourcing — and a small job it was at that. Below I quote at length from the article AFP Bus Stop in Overland Park Greeted by “Out-Sourcerers”. There’s video of the theatrical protestors in the Kansas Watchdiogarticle:
The “Out Sourcerers” also complained about the out sourcing of jobs by Koch Industries in their handout:
One of Koch Industries’ key subsidiaries actually won an award for “Outsourcing Excellence”; after they shipped American jobs to China. [Freeborders Press Release, 6/1/06; http://www.invista.com/page_whois_shareholder_en.shtml]
Google cache shows this online article from June 2006 about this “Outsourcing Excellence Award.” The description of the project for this award was “an interactive online sales platform for textile mills to market fabrics directly to garment vendors, brands and retailers anywhere in the world.”
Freeborders used its strategy of onshore project management in both Europe and the US, coupled with offshore development at its Shenzhen, China facilities to complete the project three weeks ahead of schedule. The new platform was launched in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific and over 700 brand and retail companies, registered in the first five weeks. The platform ultimately connected 600 textile manufacturers in 40 countries to over 1,000 brands and retailers worldwide.
An online article Lessons Learned From This Year’s Awards from Aug. 2006 describes the “outsourcing” that was used to “meet impossible deadlines” over an 8 week period to win the award:
INVISTA then hired Freeborders, a supplier that agreed to meet the demanding deadline by putting together teams in the US, Europe, and China who literally worked around the clock. With eight weeks left, the buyer asked Freeborders if it could deliver the library three weeks early so it could demonstrate the program at a trade show in Miami. And Freeborders did.
How many permanent jobs could have been involved in meeting “impossible deadlines” over an 8 week period?
But that’s not the whole story either:
- In 2001, three years before INVISTA was acquired by Koch Industries, INVISTA’s former owner outsourced an IT project to a global consulting firm. Fewer than 20 of the consulting firm’s employees worked on the project. It was completed in 2001.
- Five years later, that 2001 IT project was given an “outsourcing award” (in an award category titled “Best European collaboration” given that the project was initiated out of a European office of INVISTA’s former owner).
A DuPont press release from Nov. 2003 explained the sale of INVISTA by DuPont to subsidiaries of Koch. At that time INVISTA had 18,000 employees at 50 global manufacturing sites. The press release does not mention if any of the DuPont resources were in Wichita or Kansas.
The Out Sourcerers’ claims about Koch Industries outsourcing jobs from Wichita or Kansas is about politics, not jobs in Wichita or Kansas.
Koch Industries has 70,000 employees in 60 countries. The majority of the employees — more than 50,000 — are employed in North America with about 2,200 employees in Wichita.