Americans Will Pay a Little More--Honest They Will
As Cheaper Chinese Tires Roll In, Obama Faces an Early Trade Test By Peter Whoriskey Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, September 8, 2009 ALBANY, Ga. -- At the vast Cooper Tire plant here, workers heard for years about their rivals in Chinese factories. In meetings, managers urged employees to run production lines faster and more efficiently to help the company keep up. Overseas laborers were toiling for as little as 20 cents an hour, they were told, and working harder. Even more ominously, while browsing the aisles of Kmart and Wal-Mart, Cooper employees could see that, sure enough, the Chinese tires were cheapest.
"They would have these meetings and say we're up against the Chinese," said Larry Burkes, 29, who worked at the plant, which rises on the city's outskirts just beyond a mobile-home park. "We'd hear it all the time: 'They work for less.' There was pressure."
Now the plant that employed 2,100 people in this small south Georgia city is being shut down, and the troubles aff…