The air outside this factory in Northeast Philadelphia once smelled of cookies. But the aroma, along with the 350 workers who for decades made Oreos disappeared last year when snack food giant Mondelez shift production elsewhere. Across the street at Millevoi Auto Sales and Service, owner Art Millevoi recalls friends losing their jobs.
We see so many people unemployed, so many older people, too, in their fifties that have lost their jobs. They are on their third or fourth job, where our parents would have it for life and they would have pension and they would have social security. We are not guaranteed any of this.
Millievoi who runs auto body sales in and around Philadelphia says he will likely consolidate his own businesses because of rising taxes and regulatory fees. He says the government should do more to support small businesses and keep American companies like Mondelez from shifting their operations to countries like Mexico.
NAFTA has allowed avenues for companies such as Mondelez to leave this country easily. And all the people who were promised jobs were scattered for a short time. But I understand their other plants are shutting down in Chicago, etc.
Just 20 miles south along the Delaware River, the scene couldn’t be more different, as truckers pick up cargo containers on a busy Wednesday morning. Amid the hustle and bustle of factories and cargo ships lies Frank’s restaurant serving up breakfast and lunch to truck drivers and longshoremen in Philadelphia since 1910. Owner Joe Trocino, whose father bought the place in 1966, says business has gone up and down with the economy over the years. Still, he is doing OK.
If I give a good product and I open my business on time every day and I am here the hours I say I am going to be here, people can depend on me. And if I know they can depend on me, they are going to be repeat customers.
Customer Kevin Kundla says nealy old workers at his marine contracting company was laid off during the 2008 recession. Commerce Construction has since bounced back. Amid all the talk of Brexit and globalization, Kundla says the United States cannot afford to go it alone.
I don’t believe that the U.S. should isolate itself, it’s a global economy. It’s a global world. My son lives overseas and I travel overseas to Southeast Asia. And I’m heading there about 2 weeks.
These debate over trade and US roll in the global economy will likely be amplified as American voters prepare to head to the polls in November.