An Ache in the Heartland" (October 1984) takes a myopic view of the midwestern business climate. I can attest to the strengthening business environment and improving morale within the industrial heartland, particularly in Ohio, where Farley Industries operates five companies and employs more than 2,000 people.
In the past several years, Farley Industries has been one of many companies that have benefited from the people of Ohio working with the government to revitalize the heartland. We have seen new, nonadversarial relationships develop between our unions and management through a spirit of trust and respect. We have also seen many examples of the state's commitment to both traditional smokestack and high-technology business.
Recently, we made the decision to move one of our companies from the Sunbelt to the Midwest and from a nonunion to a union situation when we consolidated Lima Energy Products's Alabama and Ohio operations into one facility in Lima, Ohio. This nontraditional move was cost efficient for two reasons -- our Lima employees were willing to make concessions to be competitive with southern labor costs, and the state of Ohio and Allen County awarded Farley Industries $255,000 in grants to defray moving costs in support of the company's decision to retain Ohio jobs.
Judging from the support Farly Industries has received from the people and government of Ohio, I believe INC. is perpetuating a myth about the "rustbelt" rather than recognizing that the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Murray Weidenbaum, is on target when he says, "the issue of the 'rustbelt' is more a question of perception than reality."