If you're around Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke on the campaign trail, you're going to hear a lot about Trek Bicycles and the 1,000 jobs it has created in Wisconsin.
This you won't hear:
Trek — a company founded by Burke's father and a place she worked for nine years — is fighting a petition filed by a state official saying the firm outsourced some 15 to 20 jobs from its Waterloo plant to China earlier this year.Sigh.
In August, Lynda Paasch, a staffer with the state Department of Workforce Development, submitted a petition for special federal aid for the former Trek workers through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program in the U.S. Department of Labor.
The program provides such benefits as government subsidies for job retraining and relocation expenses for people who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition or outsourcing.
Paasch wrote that most Trek employees working second and third shift making composite lugs and mountain bike frames were laid off March 16. These are the only layoffs the company has had this year.
"The Workers were told if production numbers would not start to rise, then Trek would have to close the line down and shift the line to China, after all the bike frames (were) produced," Paasch wrote. "The production numbers could not be met due to the decrease in orders."
Federal officials are currently investigating the matter to decide whether the ex-Trek employees are entitled to benefits.
A spokeswoman for the company said it is fighting the petition.
But to be fair, the timing of this story seems rather convenient, especially on the trail of the return of Walkergate. But then again, I have been hearing about Trek outsourcing jobs for a long time, so it is equally plausible.
So far, the leading candidate in my mind is still "None of the above."