Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

President Donald Trump speaks to guests during a ceremony for the $10 billion Foxconn factory complex on June 28, 2018 in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

'Foxconn Was a Major Con': Backed by Trump Promises and $4 Billion in Subsidies, Company Admits Factory Jobs Not Coming

"Foxconn took Wisconsin for a ride. Other states, beware the allure of the mega deal."

Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump, Wisconsin's former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, and former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spent a lot of time at press events and photo-ops last year touting the 13,000 manufacturing jobs Foxconn was supposedly going to create in the U.S., but—as with many of his job claims—the president's soaring promises are looking increasingly hollow.

"Trump bragged about his deal with Foxconn to bring jobs to Wisconsin. So far 178 people were hired—but the company is on track to score over $4 billion in incentives.
That's $22M per job. #WhatADeal."
—Swing Left

As Reuters reported on Wednesday, the Taiwanese tech firm—which Walker lured to Wisconsin with over $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies—is now saying "it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised."

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Louis Woo, a special assistant to Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, said the company is completely walking back its plan to build $10 billion factory in Wisconsin.

"In Wisconsin we're not building a factory. You can't use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment," Woo said.

As Reuters notes, FoxConn "initially said it expected to employ about 5,200 people by the end of 2020; a company source said that figure now looks likely to be closer to 1,000 workers. It is unclear when the full 13,000 workers will be hired. But Woo, in the interview, said about three-quarters of Foxconn's eventual jobs will be in R&D and design—what he described as 'knowledge' positions—rather than blue-collar manufacturing jobs."

"Foxconn took Wisconsin for a ride. Other states, beware the allure of the mega deal," wrote Reid Wilson, reporter for The Hill.

News that FoxConn is slowly reversing its promises of manufacturing investment and job-creation will come as no surprise to progressive analysts and corporate welfare critics, who have argued all along that the sweetheart deal Walker and Wisconsin Republicans cut with FoxConn in 2017 was an "absolute fraud."

"I remain skeptical that the Foxconn project will ever play out as advertised," Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, told Bloomberg last week.

Following Reuters' report on Foxconn's moves to renege on its previous job pledges, critics pointed to footage of Trump participating in a "groundbreaking" ceremony with Walker, Ryan, and Foxconn's chairman at the site of the company's planned facility last June, where he touted the 13,000 manufacturing positions the tech firm vowed to create.

"I'm thrilled to be here in the Badger State with the hardworking men and women of Foxconn working with you," Trump declared during the event. "Moments ago, we broke ground on a plant that will provide jobs for much more than 13,000 Wisconsin workers. Really something. Really something."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·


Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo