Workers comp claims from General Electric closing Waukesha Engine. A successful, efficient factory in Waukesha, Wisconsin making industrial engines, costing up to $1 million each, and are used for emergency power in hospitals and office buildings and in the oil and gas industry.  Many of its engines sell to foreign corporations, but those customers do not have the funds to pay cash and cannot get loans from private commercial lenders.

Since 1934, the Export-Import Bank of the United States provides loans and insurance to foreign companies to purchase American made goods like the GE engines made in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  The mission of the Ex-Im Bank is to create and sustain U.S. jobs by financing sales of U.S. exports to international buyers.

From 2006 to 2010, Ex-Im Bank returned a profit of $3.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury. Ex-Im has maintained its incredibly low default rate (1.5%).

Critics argue it favors large corporations like GE by providing financing for its customers at taxpayer expense.  It is attacked by liberals, conservatives and libertarians.  In theory, they are correct, American taxpayers should not be subsidizing big corporations, that’s corporate welfare.  But the reality is the Ex-Im Bank returns a profit to the taxpayer.  So to oppose it on ideological grounds is just silly – and its damaging to American workers.

General Electric has decided to close its Waukesha, Wisconsin industrial engine plant and move production to Canada because Republicans in the US Congress will not renew funding of the Ex-Im Bank on principle.

As a recent NYT article explained, the GE plant closing will affect 350 workers. Of those, 291 are hourly factory employees, with the rest mainly supervisors and engineers. The machinists on the floor have good union jobs that pay $30 an hour plus overtime. The machinists, who are skilled and experienced, talk of steady learning on the job, reading blueprints and mastering electronics, and the value of “tribal knowledge.” They also talk of solid middle-class livelihoods, families raised, college tuitions paid and ailing relatives cared for.  All that gone, so some career politicians can assure their billionaire backers that they are pure enough.

If any of the laid off workers have neck or back pain or disability that my hurt their ability to find a different job, they may have a workers comp claim – if their neck or back injury is due in part to their job duties at Waukesha Engine.  Many employees who lose their jobs after they have been working with back pain should know that they have a good worker’s compensation claim if their disability is work-related.  McCormick Law Office attorneys represent back injury clients in Waukesha and Milwaukee County.