Over the past weekend, John Burke, current president of Trek Bicycle (headquartered in Waterloo, WI), took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel to pen a letter in defense of what he felt was an "inaccurate political ad" about Trek. Burke is the brother of Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke.
Here is the ad put out on the airwaves on behalf of Governor Walker and his bid for re-election (third time around!):
Here is John Burke's response on behalf of his sis:
July 20, 2014
A letter to Wisconsin
Over the past few months, much has been said about Trek. Governor Walker's campaign recently ran an inaccurate political ad about Trek. This compels me to set the record straight:
- Trek is a global company that employs nearly 1,000 people in Wisconsin, including designers, engineers, researchers, and manufacturing employees, with an annual payroll of more than $52 million.
- Today we manufacture bikes in Wisconsin, Germany, Holland, and China. In fact, we manufacture more bikes in the United States than any other bicycle company. Trek makes bikes in Wisconsin and exports and sells them globally.
- Trek's largest shareholder is the Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
- Trek pays more than $400,000 annually in property taxes.
- Trek was named to Outside Magazine's 2012 list of Best Places to Work.
Trek is committed to Wisconsin.
- Trek's founder, Richard Burke, left his entire estate to the Burke Foundation. Burke Foundation grants include Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and the Burke Scholars of Marquette University. This year alone, my father's foundation has awarded more than $6 million to worthy Wisconsin causes.
- Trek has contributed more than $11 million in the last 24 years through the annual Trek 100 Ride for Hope, a fundraiser for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC Fund).
- Trek supports 58 small Wisconsin businesses - Trek retailers - who employ more than 400 emmployees.
- Trek donated $1.5 million to create the Madison B-cycle bike sharing system and runs it for free.
- Trek founded Madison and Milwaukee DreamBikes, which provide access to affordable, quality bikes to those in need and also provide youth with valuable work experience.
We've spent 40 years building Trek into one of the greatest bicycle companies in the world. We are proud of the significant impact Trek and it's 1,000 employees in Wisconsin have had on the people and state of Wisconsin, and no one can change the facts Not even politically motivated ads.
President, Trek Bicycle
Trek Bicycle Corporation 801West Madison Street Waterloo, Wisconsin 53594 USA
All well and good. Nice letter. Trek DOES do many positive things and is a great company. I do not believe anyone, including Governor Walker, is implying otherwise. Trek is a success story - and kudos to them! They make a profit (one of those perks about business that lefties hate)! And the family that runs the business lives very well - good for them. I have no qualms about that, nor does it appear that Governor Walker does. We are not angry about "income inequality" - another drummed up bit of nonsense out of the Obama White House. We conservatives and Republicans applaud success, personal responsibility, and hard work. Quite the opposite of the Democratic party.
Now, to the point -
What is the "inaccurate" part of the political ad put out by the Walker campaign???
That Trek outsources jobs to China? They do.
That Mary Burke makes a lot of money from the company her father founded? She does.
That Wisconsin lost a lot of jobs due to Trek outsourcing? Wisconsin did.
So exactly what is "inaccurate" about the Walker ad, Mr. Burke?
John Burke is unable to mention anything inaccurate about the Walker ad in his full-page ad on behalf of his sister.
Because HE CAN'T!!!
Aside from that fact, notice what Burke also fails to mention in his letter:
1) Trek is the ONLY bike manufacturer in the United States. Therefore, it is easy to claim to "manufacture more bikes in the United States than any other bicycle company."
2) Trek makes 99.5% of its bikes in foreign countries, paying workers much less than they do here. (Common big business practice, and a sensible one - great way to get around the high cost of simply doing business in our over-regulated, over-taxed, anti-business climate which exists in the United State).
3) Note how Mr. Burke does not mention how much the Trek foreign workers are paid. $2 an hour in China is an average (and is the wage mentioned in the Walker ad). Mr. Burke doesn't take the time to dispute such or even mention what Trek pays its foreign employees in this full-page letter. Think Trek is one of the "best places to work" in China???
4) Trek may pay $400,00.00 annually in property taxes, but they do not pay a dime in state taxes and haven't for decades. Nothing illegal here, just a simple way to get around tax laws that many companies employ. Again, I say more power to 'em - yet isn't it just a bit questionable that Mr. Burke overlooks this fact?
5) From the Milwaukee Journal/Sentine: The U.S. Department of Labor issued a ruling against Trek not long ago, saying some of its employees were eligible for special federal aid via the Trade Adjustment Assistance program because they lost their jobs due to foreign trade. Specifically, the decision said "the increased reliance on imports contributed importantly to the worker group separations and sales/production declines at Trek Bicycle Corporation."
What is really going on here is that the Walker ad is brilliant in its simplicity. John Burke and Mary Burke don't like it, nor do they understand it.
The Walker ad turns the tables by using the rhetoric and anti-business beliefs of the left to target one of their own - an actual one-percenter (usually despised by lefties unless, of course, the one-percenter IS one of their own!). And remember, Mary Burke opened up the Trek topic - touting her (questionable) achievements while working there. (Burke is retired). This is the same Mary Burke, who left her job at Trek so she could take a year off to go snowboarding, then return to work. This is the same Mary Burke who bought herself a seat on the Madison school board for $120,000.00 with her own money. This is the very same Mary Burke who doesn't seem to understand that Scott Walker IS NOT criticizing Trek, he is criticizing the hypocrisy of Mary Burke, the daughter of the original founder of Trek Bicycles. (Aaaah, where IS that Occupy crowd when you need 'em???). This is the same Mary Burke who accuses Walker about not knowing about global business, when nothing could be further from the truth. Burke doesn't appear to have a clue about what the Walker ad is really about. Walker isn't criticizing big business nor the success of businesses in our state. Walker is criticizing the hypocrisy that seems ingrained in the DNA of so many liberals. The "do as we say not as we do" crowd.
In a nutshell, Burke stands for everything the left despises and then some. Governor Walker is simply pointing this out. The ad Walker's campaign ran has little to do with Trek and a lot to do with the business practices and policies that the left and Democrats are so quick to demonize. Good for Walker. Hope more ads like this come out. Liberals like Mary Burke can run, but they cannot hide from the facts.
So Mary Burke, who worked when she wanted to at her family business, and did a less-than-stellar job in the Governor Doyle administration, is the left's answer to....Scott Walker??? the best governor this state has ever had?
What the Trek???
It appears that some liberals who comment here (John K for one) simply do not understand my blog. Let me explain in simple terms. Read slowly. Sure, I supported Mitt Romney. And I would again. And there is NOTHING hypocritical about my support of Romney and the points made in this blog.
I say SO WHAT if corporations outsource to other countries to avoid the anti-business, high tax, high regulations the federal government tries to impose at every chance. GOOD FOR THEM!!! (I mentioned this in regards to Trek in my blog (twice) if any of the liberals would have bothered to read such). And I say GOOD FOR TREK.
However, the point of my blog was to show the hypocrisy of the left. That's all. Mary Burke and her leftie supporters despise the very business practices that Trek uses. They despise corporations that are successful. They despise corporations that make a profit. And they despise corporations that outsource jobs to other countries, taking advantage of cheaper labor. And they despise the one-percenters who actually make money off of such companies. Lefties HATED Mitt Romney for the very same things that Trek does and will continue to do in order to remain profitable. By all accounts, Mary Burke shouldn't be the Democrats candidate for governor, even if she does support the wishy-washy rainbow and unicorns ideals of the left. Her background is in direct conflict with the ideology of the Democratic Party.
I think Trek is a great company and an asset to the state of Wisconsin. They make a good product. They run a good business. They run a very profitable business. They have worked hard to get to where they are today. They are charitable to various organizations. Good for them. I wish them continued success.
The fact is that Mary Burke is trying her best to avoid being confronted with the facts surrounding Trek's big business practices (which most good little liberals hate with a passion) and her attachment to it. Therein lies the real hypocrisy. And that is what Governor Walker's ad - and my blog in support of Walker's ad - makes the case for.
C'mon John K.... Now that I explained what this blog is about in simple terms, since obviously you didn''t understand it the first time around - call me a hypocrite again if you want. But you'll really have to do some 'xplainin' yourself as to how in the Trek you reach such a misguided conclusion...